So You Made a Mistake—What’s Your Next Move?

by | Sep 2019

A woman sitting at a computer holds her head in her hands after making a mistake.


How can we get better at admitting we’re wrong?

It’s not always easy to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Most of us are pretty quick to take credit for something going right, but it’s rarer to step forward and take ownership of an error.

I’ve always told my kids, “You will always get in more trouble with me for lying about what you did, than for what you did”—the thing itself. In other words, I encouraged them to own their mistakes and learn from them—but never to lie about them.

I had an experience recently that renewed my faith in this idea. We took one of our vehicles to a repair shop to have some work done on it. After getting it back, it wasn’t working properly. We took it back to the shop. The manager said their work might have caused a different problem, and they would fix it free of charge. It was a repair that would take about eight hours. This blew me away! This was an amazing example of customer service, but also owning your mistakes.

The stress, upset and conflict that surround mistakes comes from denying personal responsibility. Shifting blame elsewhere for something we caused also decreases our personal power. What the crew at the car shop did in taking responsibility really makes me want to work harder at owning my own mistakes. Our community will be better off—not because we are perfect, but because we are honest.

Local media maven Natalie Webster specializes in experiences that often push her outside of her comfort zone, and helps others stretch themselves, too. 


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