At work this week I made a huge mistake, and I mean HUGE. It was something I did not know I could do when carrying out the tasks I am responsible for. It was disorienting, and as one does, I tried to find a way to undo my mistake. Unfortunately, this was one of those times when there was no ‘undo’ button, there was no way I could revert the data to the way it had been before, so it was about finding a different solution.
Like most humans I dislike making mistakes. And if I do make them I work to try and fix them myself. The job I work in at the moment is a position I feel comfortable in but is different to those I have worked before. Thankfully, as I have said many times on my blog, I work with people that believe processes can be improved and get stuck in to make it happen. Even when the task they are helping with is not one they are directly responsible for they put in their best effort. This encourages me to do the same. In any job there can be huge numbers of moving parts. Colleagues that work differently, clients that have different needs, computer systems that glitch out, people going on leave during a busy time (note that I am not placing blame here, just stating something that happens sometimes). What I really value about my current position is the people I work most closely with believe their is a solution to any problem which may arise. This mindset they have helps me to flip my perspective if I find myself falling over the other side of the line into ‘This mistake will never be fixed!’ territory.
Dogs are a brilliant example of showing forgiveness, most dogs anyway. When I was house-sitting once I was blessed to be sharing the space spending time with a wonderful dog and cat. Some days I didn’t have the energy to take the dog, Teddy, for a walk. He would complain for a bit, but often would read my body language and settle to sit down beside me. In my thinking he knew what he wanted, a walk, but realised that day it probably wasn’t going to happen. The fact I had walked him the six days previous meant he knew a walk would likely happen the next day. If in fact dog thought processes work like that.
This is a great lesson for us to take on board too. I have been working in my current job for almost six months. This mistake I made is the first really big one I’ve made, I think. The instant I made the mistake I wasn’t thinking about all the days I had done the work as planned and managed other small little issues well. My mind went straight for the ‘woe is me’ response. In these situations our initial response is valid. For me, I had made a mistake, a silly one in my own estimation, and I felt that sinking feeling. What we must not do is let this mistake affect how we respond to other things in our lives – including fixing this initial mistake. I took a deep breath, and thought about the next step. I let my immediate manager know what had happened and with her help took the necessary steps to fix the problem. Like Teddy, I complained for a bit, realised the best way forward, and took action to make it happen.
When we take responsibility for our mistakes and commit to trying to fix them the outcome is almost always better than if we try to hide the mistake and pretend it never happened. With the help of others we may even find the mistake is easier to fix than we thought. It helps if we forgive ourselves for having made the mistake in the first place. It also helps if others show grace towards us, no matter how silly the mistake might have been.
Are there any mistakes you’ve made this week which made you feel a bit silly? Were they big ones or small ones? How do you manage mistakes and try to solve the problems they can cause? Do you find it easy to forgive yourself? Do you find it easy to show grace to others when they own up to mistakes?
Go well into your week. Peace.