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What to do... When you Mess Up

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

*** Warning truth ahead***

Really! What do you do, when you mess up???

Because you will mess up, and then you will mess up again... and again... and again.

This will be a part of your life until the end of your life. Now take a moment...take a deep breath... and another...

I don't know about you but I love achieving things. I love conquering all projects perfectly and quickly... I hate to mess up!

I want to always do my very best. To be someone my husband, kids, and teammates respect and look up to. I want to always pull through and never mess up no matter what...

But that is part of being human. I will mess up and usually spend a week in my dark, dingy, slimy shame closet making a list of every detail and mistake that I made. Then I will take "said" list and break it down:

1. What was I doing that distracted me?

2. Why did I let it get this far?

3. Why wasn't I fully present in the moment?

4. Who do I owe a sincere apology to? (note: I have most likely already handed out a dozen apologies already)

5. How do I ensure this never happens again?

And the list goes on and on.

Ever been there? Okay, so you have a slimy shame closet too. ( Do you remember the movie, Matilda??? I picture it looking something like the closet Matilda is locked in by Mrs. Trunchbull--dusty, grimy and dark. Lined with nails pointed towards its most recent guest if only to remind them of every move they make!)

Well let me ask you a question....what is the point? this practice worth it? I am going to call BULLS*%#!

After spending the better half of the last two months in that sad little closet I am discovering these three things...

1. The shame closet needs to be lit on fire.. Really! Burn the sucker down! It will never serve you... it will not help you make the necessary steps to change or get better at what you're trying to do.

2. Focus on what you are learning and what you can change. If you take all of your energy and put it here you will find that life is so much better!

Long story short...if you really want to make a list... okay, I get it. Here's how you do it:

  • What went wrong? Bullet point this and break it down to ONLY the common themes.

  • What did you learn from the way it turned out?

  • Is this really your fault? If yes: what would make you feel fully competent when you work on this next time?

Now you take that list and get to work. Fix it! Do not continue to stay stuck here, just move on.... And that leads to #3.

3. Now, get over yourself...really. You are not perfect. You do not have superhuman abilities. You will continue to make mistakes in the future and that is okay. I am not saying it is okay to be complacent in your work but I am saying this... please hear this...

If you would not impress the same amount of shame onto a friend for doing the same thing... you cannot heap the same weight of it on yourself.

We all want to do the very best we can, we all want to be set apart in our industries. We desire to be an authority in our own areas. But shame in no way does anything to get us to that level.

Be compassionate toward your own missteps.. and in doing so you begin to genuinely be more gracious and compassionate with others when they stumble and fall just like you.

You can do this. Yes, it is painful. Yes, we all hate messing up.

One of my favorite authors, Brenè Brown put it this way: "You will either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness."

Own your mistakes. Walk in your story but don't set up camp in your shame closet. You are worth so much more than that!



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