The BIG mistake

big-mistakeEveryone makes mistakes

On occasion, and hopefully, rarely, its a clanger.

When the BIG mistake happens, it can evoke shame, anger at oneself, disappointment, discouragement, regret, remorse and even a loss of confidence.

Don’t blame it all on everyone/thing else

Often it is a result of an unfortunate coincidence of events, illness, stress, family troubles, bereavements, even baby births.  Don’t just blame the circumstances.  M. Scott Peck defines neurosis or character disorder as either taking too much or too little responsibility, respectively.  Whatever the reason, take responsibility for your part in it.

Don’t give up

Sometimes it can be tempting to throw in the towel.  Don’t rush to act and risk compounding the mistake.  Pause and reflect on the impact of the Mistake.  Guard against descending into a destructive never-ending cycle of re-lived memories, self-recrimination and self-pity.


Be honest

The major purpose of reflection is to take an honest assessment of how the mistake came to be and to take steps to minimize the chance it will be repeated.

Part of this involves learning how to recognize the circumstances that might lead to it happening again so that you can avoid the trap.

Respond appropriately

If possible and proper, send an apology; and if appropriate, a description of what steps you intend to rectify the impact of the mistake and to minimize the likelihood that it will happen again.

Put into place your damage control/prevention plan and then move on.  It’s only natural that the event will come to mind again from time to time.  Remind yourself that you have taken responsibility for it, fixed it as best you can, now its time to focus on the future, rather than the past.

Sometimes BIG mistakes arise from ingrained behaviours.  This may mean that you could repeat the Mistake out of habit.  If that’s the case, reflect on how it caught you out and look for a trigger event that will warn you of making the same Mistake again.

It’s never too late

Even if this BIG mistake happened a long time ago, but it hasn’t been processed properly and the pain continues to hurt you to this day, it is never too late to start.  Being set free from guilt, self recrimination and self pity could mean a significant new chapter in your life. Don’t let the BIG mistake define you.

Don’t waste it

BIG Mistakes are stressful and damaging.  But they can also be amazing episodes of learning and development for you, your organization and business that shouldn’t be wasted.

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