You should have got it right.
If you had been more mindful in the moment, you would have completed the task successfully…
Your work colleague notices the mistake and brings it to your attention. They are polite enough and seeking clarification.
You feel flawed. Incompetent. Not good enough.
In that moment, you forget all the evidence to indicate you are actually ‘good enough’.
You find yourself reaching for the excuses.
“I was rushed.”
“I had too many tasks to try and get done quickly.”
“(That person over there) made it difficult to succeed.”
The excuses don’t make you feel better.
And, they don’t help your colleague get the information needed to fix the problem.
Albert Einstein said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
So why not try a different response?
“Oh, I made a mistake. That was my fault. I stuffed up. Yikes! So sorry! Let me help you fix it.”
I certainly did!
I had a situation recently where I had made the wrong presumption and carried out a task incorrectly. The person I was working with discovered my mistake and queried it. Instead of making excuses, I chose to put my hand up high and proud and state, “That was me! I made a mistake! Sorry. I’ll make sure I do it the right way next time.”
I responded with levity. A bit of humour.
And that was it! Simple!
My colleague and I swiftly fixed the mistake without any trouble.
And, the negative mind-chatter that often starts when we are disappointed with ourselves was silent.
We respond to situations not because of the event itself but because of the ‘story’ we have about the event.
For example, “If I make a mistake, even a simple mistake, I am not good enough. Only when I am perfect will I be enough.”
Stating that out loud makes you realise how ridiculous this ‘story’ is.
A far more helpful ‘story’ could be, “I am accomplished at what I do and keep getting better every day. I would not be this accomplished if I had not made so many mistakes over my career. I am looking forward to the next mistake so I can get even better than I already am!”
I have discovered the enormous impact that strong self-confidence has. The more confident I get in my own abilities the less inclined I am to fall into excuses and justifications when I stuff up.
If you find yourself explaining your mistakes away, or your mind-chatter starts to justify your actions, I suggest you remind yourself that you are wonderful and simply getting better, one mistake at a time.
Developing reliable and sustainable self-confidence won’t make you make fewer mistakes. But it will make your learning journey so much more enjoyable!
And staying on that learning journey for the whole of your life is the key to a wonderful life!