Most people I know, myself included, have extremely high expectations for themselves and for the results in their lives. The people around us like family and friends also have high expectations of us. In this day and age, we have more demands on us than probably any other time in human history.
With this kind of pressure, every one of us is bound to mess up somewhere along the way. We may miss an important appointment, make a critical error at work, neglect our significant other and so on. I’m sure you have your own situations you could plug right into this discussion.
One skill that I learned early in my career that has made a huge difference is to accept the fact that none of us are perfect. Mistakes are definitely going to happen but life is also going to continue… even when the mistakes may feel downright devastating at the time. The real key is how you react to your mistakes. Namely, do you run away and try to pretend like nothing happened, or do you use mistakes as an opportunity to develop your character and credibility?
As a business owner, I have had to do a lot of learning on the fly and this inevitably has lead to some pretty embarrassing mistakes in my career. Looking back on those situations, I am grateful and even pleased that every one of them took place. In most cases, my mistakes caused a client to become upset with both myself and my company. However, in every single situation, I was able to turn the initial negative situation into something very positive and beneficial in the long run.
How? The key is in ownership and accountability. Every time I made a mistake that negatively impacted a client (or anyone else for that matter), I made a point of:
1. Owning up to it and accepting 100% responsibility.
2. Making a complete commitment to do whatever was required to fix the problem.
These two steps have pulled me out of some pretty sticky situations and surprisingly allowed me to strengthen my relationship with virtually every person who may have been hurt by my mistake.
The real reason this happens comes back to basic human nature. Each person understands at a core level that no person is perfect. And when a person is willing to completely own up to a mistake and do what it takes to make it right, it is almost impossible for the other person to ignore them. They can empathize with the situation because they too have made mistakes and hurt other people.
The key thing to remember is that making mistakes is a good thing. It means that you are playing the game of life full out. All you need to do is stay accountable to yourself and the people in your life and you will always be able to correct a situation that may have gone astray.