We all make mistakes. It’s an inevitable part of life.
I know that sounds really cliche and you’re probably thinking, “Where is Captain Obvious going with this one?”
One of my superpowers is the ability to just move past mistakes and not beat myself up over them. It doesn’t matter whether it has to do with my personal life, professional life or my business; when I make a mistake, I acknowledge it, apologize if necessary and then move on.
That’s a really important process, especially in business and I want to expand on it a little bit.
Acknowledging Your Mistake
The first thing I do is acknowledge the mistake. Before you can learn something or improve the situation, you need to first come to terms with the fact that there’s been a mistake made.
It can be really hard to do this. Maybe I’m a bit cynical, but I think for most people acknowledging that they’ve screwed up is really difficult. The natural inclination is to blame others.
Equally, there are those people out there who blame and beat themselves up over everything, even when it’s not their fault. In my experience, these people are not nearly as prevalent but to be candid, they can be more problematic because their desire to “own their mistake” distracts everyone else.
Taking ownership of your mistakes is a key step in resolving the problem. When you understand what’s gone wrong you can begin to look with a more critical eye on why it happened and how to prevent it from occurring again in the future.
Apologizing For Your Mistake
The next step is apologizing. There are two parts to a good apology and in business, I’ve always found that if you do both parts well you can almost repair the damage of any mistake.
The first part is a true, genuine apology. I was at the printers today getting the March issue of the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter printed and there was a mixup with another customer’s order. The employee from the printer looked this lady in the eye and said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry, that’s my fault, I made a mistake and I will fix it for you.” The woman was immediately disarmed, thanked him for his effort and apologized to me for making me wait.
This print shop staffer could have easily said, “Sorry, your instructions weren’t clear” or “Right, well you’ll need to come back later and we’ll redo the job” but he sincerely apologized and offered to make amends.
This leads us to the second part of apologizing, if you can figure out how, offer to make things right. This staff member immediately worked out what was wrong, how he could fix it, took ownership of the mistake, apologized and offered a solution. This customer was happy to forgive him and grateful for his honesty, you could see it in her eyes.
Moving Past Your Mistake
The most important part for me though and the point of this whole post is, moving on afterward. Some people really dwell on a mistake, they get very negative and it eats them up inside. It’s like cancer in that regard.
This just isn’t a healthy way to live or run your business.
The best way not to fall into this trap is to follow the steps above. When you accept you’ve made a mistake, apologize and move towards making amends, you put yourself in a position where you can move forward and beyond the mistake.
People who dwell on mistakes often feel like they have unfinished business. The whole point of what I’ve outlined is to try and teach you the skills and mentality required to move on from just about any mistake. The goal is to make the situation right and make peace with yourself at the same time so that you can go forward with a clear conscience and mind.
I mentioned above that I was at the printers picking up the March issue of the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter today. If you’re looking to get your copy, then you need to click the link below to subscribe now because on Wednesday, these bad boys are going in the mail!