Failure to success: How to learn from your mistakes

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“Don’t be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again”, Richard Branson

Mistakes are a part of everyone’s life. We all stuff up sometimes, we may even make the same mistake more than once (horror!). Lots of us beat ourselves up about our mistakes, or even blame others. But with the right mindset, you can turn your mistakes into opportunities to learn, and ultimately contributors to your success. Here’s how.

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1. Own your mistake

This can be tough but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t face your mistake. Take a deep breath and acknowledge to yourself what has happened. Don’t make excuses or blame anyone else. Once you’ve owned your mistake, you’ll need to tell any other people who might need to know. Be calm, apologise and reassure them you will do what you can to find a solution.

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2. Find a solution

Think practically about how you can make things better. You may need to enlist the help of others, either to help you think clearly about what needs to be done or from an emotional standpoint if you are upset. Remember, everyone makes mistakes, most problems have a solution and things won’t feel as bad given time.

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3. Reframe the situation

Remember, mistakes don’t define you. Take time to reflect on what happened and what you could have done to stop the mistake occurring. Ask yourself what you can do now to prevent making the same mistake in the future. Writing this down will help take the emotion out of your responses so you can see things with more perspective.

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4. Create a plan

Once you can see how things unfolded, make a detailed plan as to how you will avoid being in the situation again. Perhaps pressures were high and you need to work on managing stress, perhaps you slipped up during a process and need to write a procedure so you don’t do it again. You may decide you need professional training in a certain area. Be clear about exactly what you’re going to do and keep your plan written somewhere easy for you to access.

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5. Proceed with confidence

Now you’ve done the hard work, you can move forward with the new-found wisdom that will ultimately contribute to your success. You’ve made the mistake, found a solution and learned from it so you know how to avoid making the same mistake in the future. It’s important to review your plan but you also need to move on from the mistake. Hold your head high, shift your focus back to your goals and get back out there on your journey to success.

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