Screwing Up

What To Do After You Screw Up

Making a mistake gives me angst for days afterward. It doesn’t matter how big the mistake is either. If it was an element within my control, and I screwed it up, a knot forms in my gut until I find a way to deal with it.

…that’s why I’m writing this post, by the way.

Here are some of the smaller mistakes I make from time to time:

  • Spell or grammer mistake
  • Scheduling a post for the wrong time
  • Sending an email campaign at the wrong time
  • Forgetting to respond to an email

I’m a decent copy editor, I read each sentence backwards from the end of the post to the beginning, but my brain knows what my hands are trying to say so I miss things. I make mistakes. When one of these occurs, I honestly don’t sweat it too much I descend into a furious rage spiral of regret. There are weeks when I write up to 15 blog posts, 40 or so micro-posts on Twitter or Facebook and an email campaign or two.

I’m gonna screw up. If you believe you never screw up then you are either lying or you need to push yourself a little more.

Recognize Your Mistakes 

It’s what you do after those small mistakes that matters. Do you demand excellence in your work consistently?

Yes: then move on accordingly. Fix the mistake and the cause of the mistake.

No: then re-evaluate your process. Small mistakes occur when you’re rushed or lacking focus. Finish projects well ahead of deadline so you can leave and come back with a fresh perspective.

What About Big Mistakes?

Not fun. You’ve screwed up big time and now that knot in your belly has transformed into a tumultuous sea of remorse and frustration. For instance, I manage social media platforms for clients in hella-different industries. Last week I shared a post for the wrong client, one that was semi-inappropriate for that client’s audience.

Honest mistake, sure, but a big one. What should you do when you screw up big time?

Own up. Don’t try to blame anything other than yourself. Take responsibility for your actions. You’ll earn some points in the wake of a tough situation.

Fix the problem. Do what needs to be done quickly to minimize the damage.

Change something. Find a way to minimize future mistakes. I set a recurring reminder to read all my scheduled social updates in buffer across every channel twice a week. If there’s a mistake in there I’ll catch it. Hopefully.

The Communication Business

Blogging. Social media. Email marketing. This is my life every day. With so many words being delivered to so many different audiences, it’s crucial to my company to hit the mark 99% of the time. When I miss, however, it’s an opportunity to learn and get better at my job.

Hopefully the fouled client sticks around to experience that improvement. Usually they’re impressed that you owned up to the mistake and found a way to avoid it in the future.

What do you do when you miss the mark?

photo credit: Flying via photopin (license)

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