May 15, 2019

Making Mistakes Work for You

By B&SC Career Services Team

Making Mistakes Work for You

When you’re new to the workplace, it’s normal to try to avoid making mistakes – after all, you’re working like crazy to impress people with how professional you are! But the reality is, everyone you work with has made tons of mistakes, from your boss to the company president. So instead of focusing on never making a mistake, shift your framework to what you can learn from your mistakes. That’s how you grow.

For example, assume you’re stepping up to a new professional challenge, such as giving a workplace presentation for the first time. Even though you’ve done the appropriate research and preparation, perhaps with this first presentation the outcome is completely, unpredictably awful – a stunning failure. Your smart move here? Focus on what you can learn from the mistakes you made during your presentation.

For example,

  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn about giving presentations that can help you improve your next one?
  • What did you learn about handling adversity?
  • What would you do differently next time?

Then focus on laughing about it and realize you’re going to be able to tell great stories about this for years!

If you are having trouble figuring out the answers to any or all of these questions, don’t despair. Determine what you need to learn to stop making mistakes at work and look for courses or additional training that will help you grow professionally and do a better job next time.

All professional growth involves doing something you’ve never done before, which pretty much guarantees that you’re not going to do it perfectly the first time (okay, or maybe even the second or third or fourth time). Take it from someone who has made their own mistakes: it’s a small price to pay for the career opportunities it may open up for you. To quote Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Go for it!

About the Author:

Acclaimed Career Coach, Kim Dority is a frequent presenter for Bryant & Stratton College Online. Dority is an information specialist, consultant, career coach, published author and adjunct professor at the University of Denver in Colorado. She has written extensively on career development for students and new graduates and is a frequent presenter, lecturer and panelist on career-related topics. Kim’s areas of expertise include professional branding, career transitions and career sustainability

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