How to Conquer Mistakes as a Young Professional

One thing you can expect entering the workforce and learning a new job is that dreaded day you make a mistake. It always starts off so well; your new employer finally starts to trust you and your work ethic when, BAM, out of the blue, you make a huge mistake that threatens discredit all your hard, seemingly effortless, work.

I find that the first 6 months or so at any new job is usually the steepest learning curve but also grounds for some of my biggest errors. The first big mistake is always jarring. My mind immediately goes into overload and within 5 minutes following a mistake, I am searching for my next job on LinkedIn because  by then, I am absolutely certain that I’ll be fired (spoiler alert: I’ve never gotten fired).

I don’t know if you react the same way, but here’s some helpful tips on how to conquer mistakes in the workplace.

  1. Take the pressure off yourself to be perfect. As cliché as it is, everyone makes mistakes. I know it feels horrible. My weakest moments in my professional life have been when I’ve held myself to a standard of perfection rather than excellence. Perfection isn’t achievable; and so to expect that from myself became too big a burden to bear and caused the strongest inner turmoil when faced with a mistake no matter how small. Give yourself room to be human; mistakes will happen and you will never be perfect.
  2. Admit when you make a mistake up front. Its sop tempting, to immediately want to hide, shift blame, or justify any mistakes made. But rather than putting up a line of defense at each blunder, try confronting the mistake head on. Most bosses appreciate when you take ownership because it shows a sense of self awareness.
  3. Apologize quickly and offer solutions to the problem. The best employees take steps to prevent mistakes. Mistakes are great opportunities to learn and grow in your position. Take advantage of that and try and think of solutions to the problem. I am the queen of typos. I know a lot of my small mistakes day to day all have to do with slowing down and paying attention to what I write. So, I’ve made it a practice to not send email right away if they are longer and to write them, spend 10 minutes on something else, then read it again. Sometimes after I’ve let myself become unfamiliar with my writing, its easier to spot mistakes or confusing language. Find what works for you!
  4. Make like Elsa and let it go! Learn from your mistakes but don’t dwell on it. This is way easier said than done. As and INFJ it is easy to get stuck in my feelings especially if I feel like I haven’t lived up to the standard I set for myself. But don’t get stuck there! Mistakes will happen; learn to get over them and move on quickly.

Mistakes are inevitable and most times insignificant. However your reaction to the mistake you make created a lasting impact on your character and work ethic.

So make mistakes and make them quickly!

Experience is the best teacher.


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