You’ve heard it a million times: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Eventually, you might get tired of all that trying. What do you do when you feel like you’re always wrong? When your parents criticize your wardrobe or your spouse gets down on your life choices and your boss? Ugh, don’t even think about asking for a raise right now. So it’s been a little rough. Everyone around you has an opinion and it’s usually contradictory to your own. Now what?
Fail Fast, Fail Better
Consider your perspective. Startup founders love to talk about failing fast. To them, every mistake is a chance to learn, and the sooner they fail, the sooner they can figure out what needs to improve. Try looking at your mistakes in the same way. What went wrong, and how can you go about refining your strategy?
Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, use them as an opportunity to understand more about yourself and the resources you might need to meet your goals. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes, and to admit it, especially when you’re able to get something valuable out of the experience. Embrace the failure and shift your perspective to not only feel better but learn faster.
Make a Better Plan
So you’ve thought about your latest mess and figured out what went wrong. Great! Now, how are you going to avoid doing the same thing again? Creating a plan based on what you’ve learned is what makes your mistakes worth the trouble.
Instead of thinking about what you’d do if the exact same situation were to occur again, consider broader factors. Maybe you rushed into a decision and need to institute a 24-hour “thinking period” for yourself before making your next big move. Perhaps you said something you regret and need to figure out how to express yourself better next time something goes wrong. Whatever the solution, you might find it helpful to write it down and leave yourself a note someplace where you’ll see it daily. Then see the ideas about failures, above.
Give Yourself a Break
It can be all too easy to beat yourself up for a perceived mistake. Before you do, take a step back and consider whether your mistake was really that big — or whether you even made one at all. No one is right all the time, and it’s natural to slip up occasionally. If your plans didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped and no one was harmed in the process, try your best to shrug it off and don’t let the critics get you down. You may have caused a small problem that you need to fix, but that doesn’t have to ruin your day/week/month or worse, year. Being able to move on from small slip-ups might help you feel less stressed and more energized to do better next time.
Mistakes are a part of life, but they don’t have to ruin you. Do your best to understand what went wrong and make a plan for your next attempt, and don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process. In time, you might find the goofs that used to haunt you are now just a footnote in your story. And if people around you are always telling that you’re wrong, maybe it’s time to hang out with new people.