What happens when you make a mistake?

I have had my own challenges with judging myself when I make a mistake.  Over the years, I have realized the amount of pressure I put on myself to do things right.  It could be due to me being an oldest child.  It could be because I focus on perfection.  It could be due to a false belief that I need to make others happy.

A key factor I have come to better understand is my underlying meaning about making mistakes and my overall relationship to making mistakes.

Here are some journal entries I wrote in the past that are related to my relationship to making mistakes.


I have been doing a fair bit of writing in the last little bit. Maybe it’s that time of the year. This

past weekend has really hit hard. I did something quite stupid and was lucky the situation

didn’t get worse. I panicked like I have never done before. No control is no fun. I made a

mistake and it hit me point blank. I kept saying over and over, I should have …. If only ….

I want to go back in time and correct my error. Of course, we all want to do this impossible




I locked my keys in my car; I’m the CEO of the largest co. in the world.

I spilled hot coffee all over my new pants; I make 14 million dollars a movie.

I farted in public today; I’m the leader of this country.

My fly was down all day; I have my own talk show.

I forgot to call my mom on her birthday; I’m normal just like everybody else.

When I know I’m going to have to speak up in a group, my heart speeds up, I feel warm, I feel

nervous, my mind loses focus on what I’m going to say, I keep repeating in my head what I’m

going to say, I don’t look at people I’m talking to, I blank them out until I’m done.

My mouth is moving, but I don’t know what is coming out.

Exercise for You

  1. What do you believe is going to happen if you make a mistake?
  2. What actually happens to you when you make a mistake?
  3. How do you handle it?
  4. Do you accept it and learn from it?
  5. Do you replay your mistake in your mind over and over?
  6. Does it impact your self-confidence and/or your self-esteem?
  7. What lessons have you learned from the mistakes you have made?

Exercise for Your Team or Group

  1. What do you believe is going to happen if your team or group makes a mistake?
  2. What actually happens when the team or group makes a mistake?
  3. How does the team handle it?
  4. Does the team accept it and learn from it?
  5. Does the mistake impact the performance of the team?
  6. What lessons has your team or group learned from the mistakes it has made?

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This blog post is from Lesson #11 from the book, “Engage, Connect, Grow – 52 lessons to guide individuals and corporate teams to the heart of what truly matters to them.”