So You Made A Mistake – Now What


They tell you to just believe, try something new they say. They tell you to give it your all and you do. You put your back into it and then some. You step out on a mixture of faith, confidence, and sheer panic. You’re all dressed up looking like a newly minted coin and then you make a mistake. Not just any mistake, but a mistake that would be seen around the world by millions upon millions of people and then again all over social media where your mistake will live on FOREVER

Your name is Steve Harvey and your earth shattering, time halting mistake was…… crowning the Miss Universe runner-up as the winner of Miss Universe 2015.

What now?

First relax, your human. So you made a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. Mistakes come with the human condition and you’re in very good company. So breathe and keep breathing until you stop feeling like passing out. Now lets handle the situation.

  1. Acknowledgement – You have to have the self-awareness to know when you’ve made an error. Granted Steve Harvey’s error could not be ignored but sometimes you find people make a mistake and just keep moving as if the rest of us are suffering from some kind of vision impairment. Stop the show and acknowledge that things went wrong. No stepping off the stage for this one. Apologize with all your might and mean it. A fake apology can be seen a mile away.
  2. Correction – After acknowledging the error, it needs to be corrected. The crown needs to be placed on the correct head so to speak.  This step is most important in the business world. We provide a service, and sometimes we don’t get it right the first time. We have to quickly respond and rectify the situation and not lose the sale or the customer.  This step comes with a secret lining as it’s a documented fact that a customer who had a bad experience but it was fixed to their satisfaction is much more likely to be a loyal customer than someone who never had a problem.
  3. Learning – After the correction comes the lesson. As George Santayana says, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Now is the time to look into why the mistake happened. How can it be avoided going forward? In the case of the Miss Universe incident, it is reported that Steve Harvey made the error because he failed to practice reading the names and the required order ahead of time. Whatever the reason, you can bet Steve Harvey will not make the same mistake again, ever.
  4. Let it go – finally you have to let the mistake go. There is nothing to be gained from holding on to your mistake. Remember what I said at the beginning, mistakes are part of the human condition; this won’t be the last one.  The new challenges you will encounter as you grow will present new opportunities for new mistakes. What should not happen is the repeat of a previous mistake for it means the lesson it presented was never learnt. I like the way Steve Harvey in true comedian fashion has turned his highly visible mistake into an endless source of comedy.

So take heart, while we are not Steve Harvey and our mistakes will not lead to multi-year Miss Universe hosting gigs, the above 4-step approach, can take the sting out of the mistake and you can use it instead as a stepping-stone to your next success. As Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

What mistakes have you made that you felt you would never recover from? How did you turn it around? Feel free to share in the comments below.


Related Post:

  1. Don’t Be Afraid To Fall

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2 thoughts on “So You Made A Mistake – Now What

  1. Thank you for the good read; although the rules apply to all of us, I still feel the miss universe “mistake” was a publicity stunt!
    Keep writing my dear.


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