How to bounce back from mistakes

There’s no getting around it, mistakes happen, both in your personal life and in business. You make them. Other people make them. Or sometimes things go wrong and you aren’t sure who messed up. The trick is to bounce back from business mistakes when they happen. 

If I’ve learned anything from my conversations with entrepreneurs on the Chief Best Friends podcast, it’s that successful entrepreneurs have made a lot of mistakes. Overcoming them is part of the process.

Ask any successful person and they’ll share that failure is part of success and not in spite of it.

Here’s how to take mistakes as the growth opportunities they are so you can turn a mistake into a huge win.

5 simple steps to bounce back from business mistakes

Step #1: Do what you can to fix it

The first step to overcoming a mistake is to fix what you can. If you can stop or minimise the consequences, do it. If someone else got screwed, make amends and compensate them in any way you can. 

If that mistake was the first domino in a series of other failures, take measures to stop it from spreading. 

But if you get a cut, remember, the first step is to stop the bleeding. This isn’t always possible, and that’s okay, but it’s important to assess the damage and patch it up where it can be patched, ASAP.

Step #2: Focus on finding solutions, not finding blame

Whether you made the mistake or someone else did, make sure to focus on the the situation. Don’t make it all about you. 

Don’t get stuck in the blame game. It gets you nowhere, whether you’re blaming yourself or someone else. All it does is distract you. Instead, focus on solutions.

Step #3: Understand what went wrong + see it as a learning experience

Remember, either you win or you learn. So you really can’t lose, right? 

If you realise that mistakes are inevitable and that each one comes with a gift, it’s a lot easier to bounce back, no matter how huge the mistake. 

Take some time to reflect and discuss possible actions with your business bestie. 

Here are some questions to consider when something goes wrong:

  • What went wrong? 

  • Was there a breakdown in communication? Were there assumptions or a lack of communication? Did wires get crossed somewhere?

  • Was there a knowledge gap? Do you need to implement some sort of training to prevent this from happening again?

  • Did one or more of your systems fail? 

  • Did you trust someone you shouldn’t have? 

  • Was there an oversight? Where?

  • What could have been done to prevent this mistake? (This isn’t an invitation to get caught up in blame. It’s just something to consider so you can move forward with new perspective.)

The object of this exercise is to locate the exact point of breakdown so you can see what you need to do in the future to avoid making similar mistakes.

Step #4: Implement what you learned 

After you’ve located the breakdown that led to the mistake, the next step, is to implement any necessary changes to avoid it in the future. 

Maybe you need to put new procedures in place, add a layer of security to your business, take a training, hire (or fire) someone, or commit to talking to your business bestie before making certain decisions.

Step #5: Feel all the feelings, then move on.

Mistakes suck. There’s no doubt about that. 

They suck when you’re the one making them, and they suck when someone else makes them. It’s okay to feel mad, hurt, scared, or any other emotion when mistakes happen.

While it’s normal and healthy to make a pit stop in Hurtsville, don’t unpack and live there. Wallowing over a mistake no matter what caused it or who made it won’t help you, your business bestie, or your company and it won’t bring success. 

So give yourself some time to mope and then make the decision to get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. 

If someone else made the mistake, forgive them. If you made the mistake, forgive yourself. Then keep your eyes open so this doesn’t happen again, but don’t walk around on eggshells to the point where you can’t be effective in your business.

Getting over it is the final step in bouncing back, so don’t skip it!

You can bounce back from business mistakes

You’ve heard it a million times and you’re probably getting ready to roll your eyes at this, but hear me out: mistakes are how we learn. 

Mistakes will happen in your business. They help us grow because there’s nothing like a sucky situation to back us into a corner and force us to come up with solutions. Mistakes require us to think on our feet, be resourceful, and make important changes that are holding us back anyway. 

So embrace mistakes! Mistakes are great teachers, so seize the opportunity to learn!

Personal GrowthNiki Torres