Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

"5 Tips for Shaking Off a Mistake"

Newsletter Jun 26, 2014

We want people to fail!  That’s right, because we all know that we are the product today of all of our accumulated failures.  We have learnt what works and does not work by trying something, failing and then adjusting the way we do things.  Legendary Basketball Coach John Wooden once said, "Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be." The obvious point he was trying to convey is that everyone makes mistakes and fails. It is what you do after the mistake or failure that makes all the difference. Here are 5 ways to shake off your mistakes and move forward to success.


Brush it off

No one is perfect. Once in awhile everyone makes mistakes, it’s going to happen. Don’t spend time worrying about it, cooperate with the inevitable and focus on what you are doing.  This is how we learn, so see a mistake as a stage in your education.  In high tech environments the mantra is "fail faster", because they know how important it is to try new things when seeking breakthroughs.


Don’t fuss about trifles

Forget the small stuff. Perfecting something pointless or of low value makes no sense and adds little value.  If you can mentally stop obsessing about the smaller mistakes, you’ll be more focused and catch the larger ones before they happen.


Don’t worry about the past

Shake off your mistakes and move on. Don’t live in yesterday (or tomorrow for that matter).  Forget about what happened, no matter how silly or embarrassing. By letting go of the past it will help you focus on your current task.  "Mistakes are building blocks for enlightenment" – think of them that way, get on the front foot and start pushing forward.


Profit from your mistakes

So you’ve made a mistake, now figure out why you made the mistake, make a note and move on. Making even a mental note will help remind you to be more careful next time the situation comes up. 


Rest before you get tired

Many times silly mistakes are made simply because you are tired. Tiredness combined with making too much haste makes for a nasty combination. Errors will pop up like weeds after rain.  Make sure that you get enough sleep and sometimes it is better to tell yourself "go slower!"


Mistakes are rarely "game over" in business.  Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint.  We need consistency, reliability and stamina.  Reacting to mistakes is a more critical skill than eliminating them.  You will never eliminate them all, so defining what comes next is more important.


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