These 7 Tips Would Help You Bounce Back After Making A Major Mistake At Work

bounce back after work mistake

Mistakes are inevitable and so, you making one does not mean it is the end of the world. While you cannot stop mistakes from happening, you can, however, bounce back and learn from them.

We all know how difficult bouncing back can be, especially when such a mistake is made at work and you are very convinced you would get sacked.

Here are seven tips that would help you bounce back after you’ve made a major mistake at work.

Tips To Help You Bounce Back After A Work Mistake

1. Allow yourself to feel awful about it

In response to a stressful scenario, such as making a mistake at work, it’s natural to feel frustrated, embarrassed, or even distressed for, like 10-15 seconds. But ideally, after 15 seconds, the feeling should pass. You may still feel a bit negative but in general, you’ve gotten over the initial emotions.

Sometimes, emotions get “stuck,” and instead of dissipating after a few seconds, they keep building and building. When that happens, it’s important to release that pent-up steam in a healthy manner and as soon as possible—by, for instance, going for a quick walk up and down the street, journaling in your diary, or talking it out with a friend who can give you a sense of perspective.

2. Keep things in perspective

It can be difficult to maintain a sense of perspective when you’re upset with yourself, but try to make sure your emotional response is proportional to the blunder you made. With very few exceptions—like if you’re a pilot, surgeon, or military personnel—making an error at work is not a life-or-death situation, and most mistakes can be resolved or corrected right away.

So you uploaded the wrong file, double-booked an important meeting, showed up late for a presentation, or included a typo in an important report. You’re alive. No one was mortally wounded.

3. Confront your worst-case scenario—then let it go

In life, there certainly are consequences for mistakes. But sometimes, your mind exaggerates and distorts the potential consequences of your mistake, sending you into a state of agony and stressing you out, which, ironically, can cause you to make more errors in the future.

It can be helpful to confront your personal worst-case scenario—whatever that may be—so that you can make peace with it and move on.

So say to yourself, “OK, I goofed up. And you know what? Maybe I will get fired. It’s highly unlikely because it’s very costly and time-intensive for employers to replace great employees and I usually do a terrific job. But if that happens? I will survive. I am resourceful and creative and I won’t let anything—not even a job loss—derail my life, my health, or my happiness.”

4. Don’t overdo your apologies

If you need to apologize for your mistake, do it swiftly and briefly: “Hi Tope, I made a mistake and I’m working on correcting it as soon as possible.”

Often, that’s the only sentence you need to say. No excuses. No justifications. No verbally flogging yourself. Just acknowledge the error and move on. Honestly, people are usually so preoccupied with their own goals, projects, and issues, they’ve probably forgotten all about whatever you did wrong by the time you reach this step!

5. Create a game plan for next time

Evaluate what you need to do differently next time to make sure this same mistake doesn’t happen again. Were you multi-tasking beyond your ability, with dozens of tabs open on your browser? Were you rushing too fast to hit a deadline, missing important details in the process?

If you find an issue that you can address, do so. And for extra measure, if you feel that it would be beneficial to tell your boss about how you’re going to prevent mistakes in the future, do that, too.

6. Take better care of yourself

Most Nigerians are sleep deprived, and persistent sleep deprivation will eventually catch up with you—in the form of impaired attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving. Some studies indicate that working while sleepy is just as bad as working while under the influence of alcohol.

Aside from sleepiness, poor nutrition, dehydration, sitting too long in your chair, and lack of exercise can all contribute to poor performance at work. So if you want to avoid making mistakes in the future, get serious about your physical wellbeing.

7. Earn back trust through your actions—not just your words

The best way to earn people’s trust and admiration is to consistently deliver great work. Period. Do that, and occasional bouts of forgetfulness or slip-ups here and there are likely to be quickly forgiven—and forgotten.

Bottom line: One mistake—even a big one—does not have to derail your life or career. You can fail—even very publicly and dramatically—and still reinvent yourself, move past the mistake, and create a rich, amazing, successful life.

Related Articles

Join the conversation. Post a comment

Already have an account? Click here to login and post comment