How to Stop Beating Yourself Up Over Mistakes

Posted on Posted in Entrepreneurship

Hello, my name is Kandia. I’m flawed. I’ve made mistakes and I plan to make more of them. And you should too.


Here’s why: Making mistakes has helped me to become a better friend, family member, girlfriend (when applicable), and all around “kick ass” woman in business.


Yes, I can proudly call myself a “kick-ass” woman in business simply because I’ve finally learned to accept that I’m not perfect. In fact, I don’t have to be.


The funny thing is I built a business from my mistakes. People trust me because I’m candid and transparent about my mess-ups in life and business. 


I’ve even found that embracing my mistakes as a necessary requirement for success has helped to boost my confidence. 


So think of it this way: you can’t master anything without making a few mistakes. Think back to when you learned to drive or make your perfect pan of lasagna. You probably put in a gazillion practice hours before you claimed “perfection,” right?

How to Recover From a Mistake
Photo cred: Tracee Ellis Ross Instagram

Besides, striving for perfection takes years off of your life.


Most of the people who are aiming for perfection are still stuck in the idea stage.


Believe me, I know. Don’t forget y’all,  I’m the woman who stayed stuck at a job I hated for 5+ years before I found the courage to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur. So I know for a fact that you won’t get too far in life if you don’t learn how to take a few risks, and embrace mistakes.


Recently,  I published an article for Black and I misspelled the interviewee’s last name wrong. The article was shared on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and the young woman shared her frustration on her social channels. As you can imagine,  I was pissed at myself (and low key embarrassed). But, I had to accept my mistake and quickly get over it.


So here’s what I need you to know, not forgiving yourself quickly keeps you paralyzed by fear and stops you from moving forward in life. 


Here’s my 5 step process for recovering from your mistake: 


1.Own Your BS –  We all have a deep desire to be heard. While many people think it’s okay to just blurt out an “I apologize or I’m sorry” statement–sometimes that’s just not good enough. Clearly, articulate your actions or behavior. This is crucial for you and the other person involved. First off, acknowledging what went wrong can allow you to open your mind to next steps, solutions or new possibilities. Secondly, many people gain a new level of respect and trust in you and your work when you accept your role in the situation.  


Listen, every day someone makes a mistake and guess what? Today may be your day. Own it and don’t take yourself so seriously. You are human, right? 


2. Apologize – Put your ego aside and apologize. But please don’t downplay your apology with an “I, apologize, but….” statement. Because the person that’s listening to you will automatically think you’re trying to make your BS smell good. Or maybe you’re trying to shift the blame. Whatever you’re attempting to do–people hate back handed apologies.

For instance: THEM: “Sorry, if I offended you.” ME: There’s no “IF,” you offended me. 


Remember, it’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.

3. Forgive yourself quickly and move forward – Sure, I understand that there are small mistakes and then there are “not in this lifetime” will he/she ever forgive me for this type of mistakes. But at some point, you have to forgive yourself so that healing and growing can begin.


4. Propose a solution and ask for feedback  – Whether it’s business or personal, I always ask myself: Ok, Kandia, what’s the lesson?  Then, I go into a growth mindset by figuring out a solution so that both parties can move forward. When you acknowledge your mistakes and come to the table with solutions, it can build your credibility as a friend, business owner, wife

Whenever I’m unable to identify a solution (e.g., process, system or tool) which can help me avoid making the mistake in the future, I’ve learned to simply ask the person: How can I do better?  “Is there anything I can do (or stop doing) to make things better? These types of question open up the possibility for us to have a  two-way conversation and move past the problem.  


5. Accept the consequences -“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction toward what happens to you.”

 I always say “People can forgive you for what you did, but they can not forgive you for how you went about things.” For instance, have you ever had an argument with someone and they took it to another level by yelling and dropping F-bombs? Or maybe in a hot-headed fit of rage, they posted a Facebook status about you to their friends?  Now, this person may have had a valid argument, but once they started cursing or sharing your disagreement with the world—all bets are off for forgiveness and reconciliation. 


So now, guess what? You’ll have to allow time to heal the wound or accept the outcome as final. I was fired once for a mistake. But here’s the thing, I’m still standing. Doing work that I love and chatting with you all right now. Acknowledge. Apologize. Forgive yourself and Move on! 

Do you know anyone struggling with getting over a mistake? Share this article with them!

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