“You make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make you.” This quote by surgeon and author Maxwell Maltz speaks volumes about how to overcome your mistakes. We all make them in every aspect of our lives, but when you are self-employed, they can be especially devastating. Rather than dwelling on the mistake or pretending as if it never happened, here are four steps you can take right away to overcome your mistakes and keep moving forward.
1. Recognize that your ultimate goal is to improve and that mistakes are part of the learning process. No one is immune to making mistakes, and as someone who is always striving to better himself, embrace your mistake so you can learn from it. For example, a consultant new to her direct sales business, was asked by a customer if a particular pair of earrings was hypoallergenic. The consultant, instead of checking to be 100% certain, gave her best guess on the spot. She turned out to be wrong, causing the customer to complain about the product and return it for a full refund. The consultant was worried that she had made a bad impression on this customer and her friends from the party, but instead of letting it get the best of her, she realized that she is capable of overcoming this setback. It was surely a rookie mistake, and in the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t make or break her business.
2. Find a way to rectify your mistake. The sooner you can do this, the better. Our jewelry consultant from the example above fixed her mistake by calling the customer to apologize for giving the wrong information, and also sent her a handwritten note with a $20 credit to use on a future order. She wanted the customer to know that she wasn’t a careless person, but that she was an honest businesswoman who made a beginner’s mistake. It was important for the customer to know that she truly wanted to rectify the situation. If at all possible, fix your mistake so that you can begin anew without the worry of a previous error.
3. Forgive yourself. People in direct sales businesses are naturally ambitious and motivated to succeed. Because of this, we can sometimes be our own worst critics. Although it is good to hold yourself to a high standard, cut yourself some slack when you make a mistake. If you spend too much time beating yourself up about it, you won’t be able to get past it and possibly won’t be able to enjoy what you do. Forgive yourself so you can rebuild your confidence and move forward.
4. Give yourself an opportunity to vent your frustrations and express your emotions. It is unhealthy for you to keep your emotions bottled up. Confiding in a close friend or relative about how you are feeling or writing in a journal can be quite therapeutic. You’ll likely feel much better after venting and you can then continue to move ahead.
Mistakes are inevitable in any endeavor, so rather than letting them define you, embrace them by learning, improving, forgiving yourself, and moving on. You will be more successful in the long run if you do.
How do you overcome your mistakes? Please share your comments below!