“Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ”
― C.G. Jung tweet this!
I used to work for a boss who terrified me especially when I know I made a mistake because of the way she makes me own up to it. Don’t get me wrong but she’s nice outside of work but when it comes to business, man, she means business and her tolerance to mistakes is quite short.
I must admit that working for her was the by far the biggest challenge I ever faced among the bosses I worked for because it was under her leadership where I began to question my ability to lead a team. My self-esteem did take a hit and I will never forget those “blank” moments.
What do I mean by blank moments? Let me give you an example.
There was this project she assigned to me that required communication with multiple stakeholders and I was pretty sure that I did everything that needs to be done until the day she checked on the status of the project. She went through our checklist to confirm if everyone has been accounted for until we came to one of the teams which I accidentally left out. We’ve been working on this project for a few weeks already and when she asked me if I have contacted this team and closed out our pending items with them, not a single word came out of my mouth.
“Noel?” she asked.
“Was the item for this team closed?” she followed.
It took me more than ten seconds to come up with an answer not because I don’t know what to say but because I don’t want to say something that will disappoint her.
“I think I left them out. Sorry.” I said with my heartbeat raising like someone was chasing it.
“Left out?” she asked, much like a police officer interrogating a suspect.
I wanted to justify my actions or come up with an excuse but nothing would come out. I guess I reacted that way because it wasn’t the first time I made a mistake and paid for it dearly. I knew at that moment that I was going to hear some harsh words that would shatter my confidence just like what happened the last time. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I really felt unmotivated after.
Looking back, I now realize that I should have just admitted my mistake instead of coming up with excuses or coming up with DEAD AIR because it affected me so much being embarrassed that way. Why should you admit your mistakes? Here’s why:
1. The truth shall set you free
Nothing can be more liberating and guilt-free than telling the truth. No excuses, no alibis, just plain TRUTH. People can easily see if you’re lying or not and beating around the bush and blaming others for your mistake will only ruin your reputation and make you out as a person not worthy of other’s trust.
2. It breeds responsibility
One of the qualities of a good leader is that of not being afraid to take responsibility. After all, the success and failure of his team rests on his shoulders and it is admirable to see leaders who come forward not only to celebrate victory but also to admit defeat.
Leadership doesn’t have to be contained with a team setup. As individuals, we are also leaders because we are responsible for the life we live and just like leaders, we too should be gracious in defeat every time we fail. You must also be willing to admit your mistakes and not pass the blame on your circumstance or on other people. You are in charge of your life whether you win or lose.
3. It shows humility
Even if you are the most intelligent person in the world, there are still things that you don’t know better than others do and to admit this weakness shows a lot of humility on your part.
Failure is part of success and people who have succeeded in life like Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, or Richard Branson will be the first to tell you that without failure, they won’t be where they are right now.
The first stage of recognizing failure is acceptance which is exactly what you’re doing when you admit your mistakes.
4. It facilitates the learning process
Admitting to a mistake shows that you recognize what’s right from wrong and knowing this helps you avoid making the same mistake twice.
We can only learn from our mistakes, just like what most people, say if we admit to ourselves that we committed one. The more you make mistakes, the more you will learn what to avoid and what works best toward the achievement of a goal.
If your relationships always fail because your exes find you “clingy”, would you still try to become one in your next relationship? If you are a business person whose last business venture failed because you trusted the wrong people, would you still employ the same people in your next project?
Women who fall for married men for example, fail to break the pattern because they don’t consider what they do a mistake and until they do, they will always continue to do so.
5. It makes you become a better person
When I was a kid, I used to look at correctional facilities like a prison or a rehab as a bad place. Whenever see people getting imprisoned or a celebrity checking into rehab, my first impression was that they were being punished. Well, part of it I guess is punishment, but more than that, they are actually being given a chance to correct their mistakes (thus the word correctional).
So why do people get into such places?
The simple explanation is that they don’t recognize the mistakes they’ve made especially for those who are trying to beat an addiction. These facilities were made to make these people realize, and more importantly, accept that they’ve made a mistake which hopefully leads to learning and then finally, positive change.
6. You’re only human and nobody’s perfect
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
― Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism tweet this!
Some of us have the tendency to take mistakes so seriously and make a big deal out of it especially those who are considered “perfectionists”. People can be more passionate than others in what they do that the slightest mistake makes them regret their actions more than they should. We all know that nobody’s perfect yet we keep on trying to be one.
There’s nothing wrong in making mistakes and therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed should you commit one. Just make sure to own up to it and take responsibility for it because this is where positive change begins.
Over to You
Do you own up to your mistakes when locked in a tight situation or are you the type who makes excuses?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or share your stories below!
You can also share this content via twitter