Integrity is the name of the game. Especially at Priority VA, we’re all about doing better than our best. My VAs knock it out of the park when it comes to customer satisfaction, and I’m so thankful God has allowed me to pull such a solid team together.
But here’s the thing: we’re all human. No matter how awesome we are, we will – eventually – make a mistake. It might be minor. It might be noticeably inconvenient. It might be a real humdinger.
Regardless of the magnitude of the mistake, it doesn’t always have to end badly. There is light at the end of every tunnel, even if you have to backtrack to find it. Here are a few thoughts in defense of making mistakes.
Mistakes Teach Us Lessons
At least – they’d better. If you’re not learning from your mistakes, you’re doing life wrong. Not only do our mistakes teach us what not to do going forward, but they teach us how to earnestly seek solutions. Mistakes lay the groundwork for problem solving on the fly.
Thinking on your feet may not come naturally to everybody, but when it’s do-or-die to fix a mess, you’re putting some valuable skills to use. Don’t just fix a problem – figure out a way to make sure it won’t happen again. Be the hero by proactively solving future mishaps while reactively fixing the problem at hand.
Try to reason why the mistake happened in the first place. Is it something you could change? Is it something you had any control over? Take everything into consideration, make a new plan going forward, and apply everything you learned to make sure the problem doesn’t crop up again.
Mistakes Foster Personal Growth
It isn’t just about how you fix the problem. It’s how you handle yourself in the crunch time. Are you freaking out? Are you being too relaxed? Are you weathering the storm like a seasoned veteran?
Panic stirs one of two reactions: fight or flight. Fight, of course, is you standing your ground and facing your foe. Flight, on the other hand, is throwing caution to the wind and making a run for it. If you’re in flight mode after making a mistake – it’s been nice knowing you.
If you’re in fight mode, however, make sure you’re fighting the right way. Don’t snap at people, play the blame game, or throw punches. Fighting to fix an error is working quickly to resolve it, working effectively to restore it, and working collaboratively so everyone is still standing in the end.
If I’m applying what I learned and taking initiative to improve my processes, I’m laying the groundwork for my own self-improvement.
Mistakes Shape Your Character
There was a client who used to always say, “You can tell me good news. You can tell me bad news. But don’t ever surprise me.” If and when you make a mistake – big or small – own it. Don’t try to cover your tracks or wait to share with someone until it’s too late. Always own up to it immediately, take responsibility, and do what it takes to make it right.
The mistake itself might make people mad. It happens. If you’re taking responsibility and ownership of your problem, and especially of your solution, your character will speak volumes above your actions.
When I make a mistake, I’m the first person to admit to it, so my own personal integrity isn’t called into question. Character is key, and no matter what you lose in the aftermath of a mistake, do not lose your character.
Mistakes Aren’t The End of The World
Bob Ross used to say, “There are no mistakes. Only happy accidents.” Oh Bob… God bless you. I wish that were the case, but sometimes our happy accidents really screw things up. In bad ways. The good news is, it’s not the end of the world.
We’ve all made some real doozies, I know. Some mistakes are so big it makes us physically sick to our stomachs. We want to initiate the flight mode, and get the heck out of dodge. But we can’t.
It may certainly be the end of an era, but not the end of the world. If you learn from your mistakes, apply what you learned to better yourself going forward, and maintain your upstanding character through it all, your world will keep spinning. The sun will still rise tomorrow, no matter how dark the day seems in the middle of the mistake.
Sometimes our biggest mistakes pave the way for our biggest blessings.
Thank goodness I made all my mistakes early on and don’t have to worry about messing up anymore. (Ha!)
Don’t panic the next time you slip up. Keep your integrity, keep your head on straight, and get to fixing it.