How to Handle Making a Mistake at Work Without Beating Yourself Up

There is no getting around it, you will mess up at work and in life.

Everyone does!

No one is perfect so it will happen a few times during your career. As bad as it feels in the moment to make a mistake at work, you will get passed it.

photo: Unsplash

photo: Unsplash


Time will move on and soon no one will remember what happened. Well, maybe you but seriously no one else will be dwelling on it! Making a mistake at work does not need to be the end of the world or even a major setback. Pick yourself back up and read these tips to move on.

How to Handle Making a Mistake at Work Without Beating Yourself Up


Forgive Yourself

This first thing you must, I repeat MUST do, is forgive yourself. Beating yourself up about the mistake you made isn’t going to change anything. You won’t be able to take it back, so try to let yourself off the hook. Take that energy and focus on not letting it happen again!

As I mentioned in the opening, people will forget it. Honestly people tend to think about themselves and tend not to dwell on mistakes other people make. Don’t remind them and it will get lost in the day to day shuffle.

Objective Review

Taking the blame out of the equation, review the facts of what occurred. What could you have done differently to affect the outcome? Could you have prepared more? Were you distracted by too many competing priorities? Did you fail to say no to another task when you should have focus on this one?

Taking the time to identify the issue that lead the mistake will help you avoid the same thing happening again. Try to avoid placing blame on other parties. Focus on what is in your control to manage to keep yourself productive.


Own Up

If you make a mistake at work you absolutely need to own up to it. Resist the urge to make excuses. Even if your excuses are valid, voicing them will make you seem defensive. If you choose to throw someone else under the bus, it will likely make you seem untrustworthy.

Take the humility and people will respect you for it. Come with a way to improve yourself so it doesn’t happen again you will show leadership.

Photo: Unsplash

Photo: Unsplash

Make Changes

Take what you learned from your review of the situation and make changes accordingly. If you were too overwhelmed, take a look at your workload. Don’t be shy about going to your manager with a request to move a project or responsibility if you think you have too much on your plate.

One of the hardest things to do is to say no to colleagues or even your boss if they ask you to do something. Remember that you are the only one who can determine if you have the capacity to take on additional work. Sure, they would probably just prefer you to do it so they can be relived but you need to make sure you set yourself up for success.

Convinced your mistake is not one you can come back from and want to make a change? Check out my resume guides to get your resume ready for all those applications you are going to be sending out! Another option is trying one of these Resume templates: a resource that helps job seekers format their resume and find template specific to their line of work.