Investing in Yourself: Getting Back on Track After Messing Up

Investing in Yourself: Getting Back on Track After Messing Up

Have you or your child ever come down with the hand, foot and mouth disease? One of my daughters and I recently had the, ahem, pleasure of making close friends with this nasty virus. Itchy and painful blisters, an out-of-whack stomach plus a really swollen throat and mind-numbing fatigue were a daily ritual for the better part of a week before the immune system sent the virus on its way.

If that weren't enough, the contagious nature of the virus was enough for me to miss a few days of work. During that time, I had left some of my duties at work unattended, and I forgot to tell a fellow coworker to help me out with some weekly reminders that I do. Long story short, the reminders weren't made and a part of the weekly worship service didn't happen – a pretty big goof up on my part.

I actually didn't know about the mistake until I returned to work, where I was reminded about the forgotten reminders. Immediately, I felt bad and gave myself a pretty good mental bashing even though my boss was very understanding and nice about the whole mix-up. If you make a mistake (don't we all?), here are some ideas to help you get back on track and right the wrong.

Make Amends As Needed

If you've erred, consider sitting down with whoever else was involved or affected by your mistake and offering up an "I'm sorry." As hard as it is for us sometimes, a heartfelt, simple, straightforward apology can go a long way. Owning up to your part in a mistake has the nice effect of clearing your conscience as well as letting the "offended" party know that you've acknowledged your temporary leave from top form. Clearing the air can also be a nice starting-over and moving-forward point in a relationship of any kind (work, friend, etc.).

Don't Beat Yourself Up

We're often our own worse critics (I know I am!), and sometimes we can make a mountain out of a molehill without anyone else's help. So, whatever your goof up, resolve to stop beating yourself up over it. Realize that you are human and that you will make a mistake from time to time. It's natural. It's human nature. It won't be the first or last time, either. Cut yourself a little slack and acknowledge that tomorrow can be a better day with a whole slew of new choices ahead.

Planning For the Future

As for my work mistake, my supervisor and I came up with a plan that should head off any similar waylaying in the future. The simple bottom line? Take whatever lesson you can from your mess up and file it away for use at a later time. Sometimes making a mistake can help us see a bigger picture and can give us insight on both how not to do something as well as how it can be done better.

If you've had the distinct pleasure of messing up, rest assured that a) you're not alone and b) you can move on and even learn from such a mistake. Make amends where they are due and cut yourself a little slack; today is as good a day as any for a fresh start.

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Niki's picture

Niki wrote:

Tue, 10/18/2011 - 11:22 Comment #: 1

I think not beating yourself up is the hardest part. I tend to dwell on my mistakes. But if you can fix it so it doesn't happen again and you've learned something then usually most mistakes can be good life experience. Barring the really horrible ones of course.

Alex | Perfecting Dad's picture

Alex | Perfecting Dad wrote:

Tue, 10/18/2011 - 15:11 Comment #: 2

Hehe, can't say that I've ever messed myself but ...

Kidding. Actually just this morning my family messed up. We went to the dentist a while ago and one kid had a cavity -- usually my wife goes but this time I had a day off and so I took the child. The dentist recommended nitrous oxide to me, which I later found out doubled the cost of the treatment. I felt like I wasn't explained the nitrous properly and felt duped, so I asked for the money back. The dentist regretted that I felt that way and insulted, but they were going to give the money back. As they were processing the refund they mentioned that they had talked with my wife two times before about it in detail. So in fact, it was our fault for not communicating between ourselves correctly. So I didn't accept the refund and apologized, saying that it was a problem between my wife and I, not the dentists responsibility.

Apologizing shouldn't be hard. For me it's only hard if I don't think I did anything wrong. But when I know something was missed, the apology comes quick and easy.