by Larkin G.
This month at Millennial Chat, we’ve talked a lot about overcoming obstacles like not getting paid what you deserve, the education system, not being taken seriously at work, and even overcoming unhappiness. Sometimes we create our own obstacles. Put up our own roadblocks to success.
But the good news is, you can fix your mistakes. Remove the roadblocks. IF (and this is the kicker) you’re willing to own up.
First and foremost accept this sucky fact of life:
No matter who you are or how awesome, you’re gonna screw up from time to time.
Sometimes you’ll make tiny mistakes, but other times you’ll make giant, epic screw ups (like printing the wrong information on a billboard. Yup been there. That screw up cost about $800). And the one thing that separates those who succeed from those who fail is how you handle those screw ups.
I know you’re amazing. Fantastic. The best person in your field. Who ever lived (I know I am).
Don’t get ahead of yourself. While confidence is good, over confidence is not. If you’re too busy telling everybody how much you know and how terrific you are, then you aren’t concentrating on things like:
- Your work
- Double checking that date on a program….
The best thing to do when you make a mistake is often the hardest…
OWN UP TO IT!
Yeah, it sucks. Nobody likes to admit they’re wrong (especially awesome people like yourself) but its best if your boss (or whomever is affected) hears about the mistake from you instead of being surprised by it. And you certainly don’t want to be surprised by an irate, screaming boss, do you?
Now that you’ve made a mistake, don’t sit around and mope! FIX IT!
And take in the yelling or the lecturing. You messed up. Deal with the consequences. Do not argue with your higher up’s.
Yes, they were right.
And you were wrong.
Suck it up and listen politely. No matter what they say.
To soften the blow, when you go in to meet with your boss, already have a solution prepared. When I messed up the billboard, I contacted the billboard company and let them know about the mix up. They agreed to give us a discount on reprinting the billboard. I corrected the file and sent it in to the company and got an estimate for shipping time. So when I went it to my boss, I had already started to fix the problem and could tell her exactly how much it would cost to fix my mistake and how soon it would be corrected.
Take something away from all your mistakes, large and small; use them to learn something. As sucktastic as they can be to go through, making mistakes can be a good thing. They can teach you lessons you would never retain otherwise-because they engrain them in your memory. From my delightful billboard incident reinforced the importance of double and triple checking (which I already knew) but also taught me to always have at least two other people proof read all documents before they go to press.
Let’s face it, there is ALWAYS something you can learn-and if you think otherwise, YOU have a lot to learn. The smartest people on the planet are the ones with a thirst for knowledge. The ones who literally cannot get enough of it. You will notice that I did not say school. There are many many ways to learn that do not involve school.
- What are some lessons that you’ve learned from making a mistake? (you don’t have to tell us what the mistake was)
- What are your best tips for avoiding epic mistakes?
- And (for the terribly brave) what are some mistakes you made early on that you’re glad you did? And why?