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I f*cked up at my job.  I’m not happy about it.  I feel like I let down the people who hired me and the people who respect me and my role in the company.  In summary- this sucks.

My annoying brain is already going on excuse overdrive, crafting elaborate reasonings that lessen my involvement or blame on the situation.  I’m very tempted to fire off a long email that elaborates the excuses and fact pattern that brought me here but luckily I’ve grown up enough extinguish the urge.

Have you ever felt the same?

I take it that you have- every person I’ve ever met has made mistakes.  Similarly, every person I’ve ever met has made BIG mistakes.  It happens all the time.  A fact of life and work.

What separates the leaders from followers, the high-performers from the average, and the fulfilled from the distraught is how the person reacts to the mistake.

Here are some tips to separate yourself from the pack and feel better post mistake:

  • Realize it for what it is– recognize that mistakes happen all the time and this is just part of the process. Statistically you are going to make mistakes once in awhile so today just happened to be that day. No-one died, seriously its ok.
  • Take ownership– a good leader takes ownership even if it was his staff or some other direct report that made the mistake. Don’t belittle the mistake with excuses.  No excuses – straight up apologize.
  • Don’t panic– the best managers stay calm in times of peril. This is no exception.  Everything is fine- no one is hurt. Tell yourself to be calm- it helps.  Important- don’t make it a bigger deal then it is. Still care?  Read this.
  • Come up with a game plan– Spend the time you would normally spend panicking and apologizing to come up with a detailed plan to rectify the mistake.  If the mistake is irreversible, your detailed plan should be how to prevent something like this from happening again.  Don’t wait to be asked to take action- just do it.
  • Don’t over-apologize– One or two apologies and that’s it. After that it’s unprofessional and you are perceived as weak.  Show that the mistake means as much to you as it does the people that are upset, then give them the plan to fix it as soon as you have your bearings.
  • Be happy– no one is forcing you to have this mistake ruin the rest of your day. Only you choose to be upset about it.  Once you realize mistakes are part of the process, you have a plan in place, and you apologized, there is no need for further grief.  Get back to your life and happiness asap.

I hope this helps – time to get back to my life!


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