I made a mistake this last week. And it was a pretty decent-sized mistake that impacted more than just me, causing work and stress for a number of people. I’ve spent a pretty good chunk of time feeling quite badly about it, and it’s still weighing me down.
Everyone makes mistakes. I’ve made tons of them. I’m making mistakes now that I don’t even know about. The difference is that most of the time, when someone makes a mistake, they are able to go back and do something about it. There is usually a way to make it right again.
When I do something wrong, I cop to it as soon as I can, especially in a professional situation. I cop to it and then I work like hell to clean it up and make it good again.
But sometimes there really is no way to make it better. So after making one of these types of mistakes, you don’t get the relief of making it right again. And the mistake that I made last week was one of these types. A deadline crunch eliminated any chance that I had to fix it. I made the mess and now I get to soak in it.
I hate making mistakes. Hate it. And I think that this is a great motivator for me. I rarely go into a situation unprepared. I’m cautious, and I make every effort to anticipate what could go wrong. But you can’t do that all the time.
And this tendency can also be a hinderance. It can prevent taking risks, it can make it too easy to not even try for fear of screwing up. Or it can cause one to lock up, to hesitate to the point of paralysis. And that’s bad.
So I’m trying now to view this mistake in the most positive light possible. I’ve definitely learned from the mistake, and it’s now earned a place in my preparedness and planning rituals, but ,you know, it’s still smarting. Smarting quite a bit.