The Riveter Way, Lesson 7

Lesson 7: Handling Setbacks – How to Get Back Up After a Mistake

Everyone makes mistakes. There’s not a single human in business or in life who hasn’t failed at something. We all have things that we wish we’d done differently. So expecting to glide through your career without messing things up here and there is an unreasonable expectation.

Now, does anyone look forward to mistakes? Absolutely not! They’re not fun. They don’t feel good. But if you peer into the window of the career of a person who you admire, you’ll see that the stories of their past are colored with failures, mess-ups, and mistakes. If you’re human, then you’re probably making them!

When you’re pushing yourself into new areas and committed to new growth in your business or in your goals, you’re going to face some self-inflicted setbacks. When those mistakes happen, consider these tips for getting back up, dusting yourself off, and continuing on:

First, remember that you’re not alone. It’s normal to make mistakes and feel bad about them. Most of us are pretty hard on ourselves for screwing up because we think everyone else would have gotten it right. The reality is, people everywhere are making mistakes left and right. No matter how successful they are, they’re taking left turns too when they should have taken a right. It’s not just you, so try to be less hard on yourself. And if you need more reminders that you’re not alone, ask peers, mentors or friends whom you admire to tell you about a big mistake they made on their path.

Second, remember that mistakes are stepping stones. If you can treat your mistake as a step in the right direction, it’ll be easier to move past it. If you’re pushing yourself and expanding, then this mistake is a sign of just that — growth. Without the mistake, you wouldn’t have gotten the feedback that’s going to strengthen your abilities in the future.

Third, remember what you’ve learned. Mistakes aren’t failures unless you refuse to learn from them. So take a bit of time to ask yourself what the lesson you could take away. What insight did you receive here? What would you do differently? What information did you miss? If you know the lesson, you’ll be more confident in trying to master that lesson.

Whatever you do, don’t let mistakes stop you. They are a gift on any path, especially when we’re pushing ourselves. Take some time to evaluate, share, and learn, and your mistakes will turn into golden insights that you couldn’t have possibly known without having made them.

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