How to Learn From Your Career Mistakes

Here's something very important to remember: in work, as in life, EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES!

No matter who you are or how good you are at your job, you're going to make a mistake every once in a while. It's how you react to those mistakes that define you.

Professionals can use their career mistakes to learn and grow, so here are some things to remember next time you make a "boo-boo" at work:

Use It as a Guide for the Future

What did you do wrong? Could it have been avoided? What actions could have been different? Think about the ways you went wrong, or that led to this mistake. Use that as a guide to help you avoid making the same mistake in the future. No matter what kind of mistakes you make, they can be used as a reference stick to help you avoid screwing up again down the road.

Showcase Your Problem-Solving Skills

If you've screwed up somehow, don't panic and freak out! Instead, stay calm, breathe, and find the solution. When you make a mistake, it looks bad. When you solve a big problem--even if it's one you caused--it highlights your skills as a problem-solver. You'll find that thinking clearly and solving the problem you've created will be a huge boost to your confidence, and you'll be far less stressed about making tiny mistakes if you know you can fix them.

Clean Up the Mess

If you don't act quickly to clean up a spilled cup of water, the water spreads and can ruin things. The same is true for your career mistakes. The sooner you can set about cleaning up the mess, the smaller it will be and the less you will have ruined. Don't ignore the mistake, but clean it up as soon as you can.

Take Responsibility

The most important takeaway from any mistake is that it's your mess, so it's your responsibility. Even if you get fired, have to work weekends, or have your pay docked, so what? It sucks, but it's life. A real man or woman owns up to their mistakes, and they take responsibility for it. No excuses, but suck it up and give an authentic apology.

Find a Way to Make it Work

Did you lose a huge client that your company has depended on? Why not try to win them back, and add them to your account? Did you get into an argument with your boss? Use it to open a dialogue with the boss, and find a way to strengthen your relationship. Mistakes don't have to be a step backwards, but they can be an oblique step forward if you can find a way to make that mistake work out in your favor.

Remember: Failure Isn't the End

Do you know how many times people like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey failed? Plenty, but they used every failure and mistake to help move them forward. Failure is just eliminating one option from your life plan, and your mistakes are helping you to move closer towards that thing that will ultimately lead to success. Don't let your mistakes doom you to feelings of failure--which eventually could lead to real failure--but learn from your failures and mistakes! 


Image Credit: Getty Images




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