Today I stuffed up.
Well not specifically today – today it was brought to my attention that I stuffed up. This particular ‘stuff up’ happened weeks ago; so long ago, in fact, that it now can’t really be fixed. It is what it is, and all I can do is accept that it happened and live with the fact I made a mistake.
Accepting I’ve done something wrong is very difficult for me because I have a severe fear of getting into trouble. I was that child who, whenever approached with the suggestion of doing something even slightly rebellious, responded with “No, we’d better not!” which was code for “I don’t want to get into trouble!” Alright, let’s just cut to the chase and label me a goodie-two-shoes.
But at the end of the day, it’s not really the mistakes you make, but how you deal with them that matters. I can’t say whether my way of handling failure is wrong or right – but for the sake of my beloved blog and a bit of entertainment at the expense of myself, I thought I’d share my seven stages of failure with you all.
The first thing that comes to mind when you’ve realised something is wrong is to reject that very realisation. Not so much a “I didn’t do it”, but a “You must be mistaken – there is no mistake!” And then you check and check again to discover that there is, indeed, a mistake, and then you use the word mistake six times in one paragraph just to really drill it into you – there is most definitely a mistake there and you may, or may not, be responsible for it.
It may not have crossed your mind in the first stage, but it definitely sneaks in there during the second. Trying to determine who exactly is responsible for the stuff up quickly jumps to mind. Again, not so much a “I didn’t do it”, but a “Surely someone else accidentally wandered into this scenario and unknowingly contributed to this debacle”. It’s like a polite way of dobbing in your little brother to your mum for something they most definitely didn’t do (and you did). You’re pretty sure you were at fault, but let’s explore all options before pleading guilty shall we?
Nope. It wasn’t them. It was most definitely your fault and now all eyes are on you and you only. What else can you do than take a deep breath, avoid all eye contact and boldly admit “It was my fault“. I know it’s hard. I know it hurts. But it says a lot about you, to be able to admit it when you could keep kidding yourself and denying you were even in the country at the time. You ain’t fooling anybody.
4. Damage control
“How can I do all of the things to rectify this situation as quickly and pain free as possible?” is the next thought then runs through your head. Or in my case, is spoken out loud rather desperately to those around me. You go into complete damage control and perhaps even overdo it in your desperate attempts to put a band-aid on it. But as our girl Tay-Tay tells us, “band-aids don’t fix bullet holes” and sometimes you have to deal with that incredibly uncomfortable feeling of guilt for a while longer. It’s called ‘learning from your mistakes’ and I think it’s something our parents may have mentioned once or twice when we were growing up and not really paying attention.
You did it. You admitted it. You tried your best to fix it. Now it’s time to apologise. Take my advice here and don’t turn on the waterworks – I’ve contemplated it a few times and come to the conclusion that it just doesn’t work. No one feels sorry for the guy in the orange jumpsuit and handcuffs when they all know he dunnit. Buuuut that knowledge still doesn’t stop me from grovelling a little. I apologise for the mistake and claim all responsibility; when someone suggests they should take part of the blame (um excuse me, where were you during stage two?), I respond with, “Nope, it wasn’t your fault – this was all on me”. At this point, I am genuinely sorry and regretful, but I’m not going to lie; a small part of me is begging for those around me to tell me it’s ok, and it wasn’t that bad, just so I can feel a little bit better about the situation.
“Oh well, at least it’s not like I [insert lame/unfunny comment about something much worse you could have done instead of said mistake].” Need I say more?
7. Move on
That’s it. You’re done. You’ve wasted enough time worrying about it and it’s time to get on with doing other tasks correctly rather than dwell on what you did wrong in the past. This is hard for me to do, but I always get there in the end. You have to realise that you are still a good person and there despite your lame jokes, there are worse things you could have done (unless you have committed a very serious crime in which I suggest this blog post is of no help to you what-so-ever). The sun will come up tomorrow and life will continue, mistake or no mistake.
So I just smile, take a deep breath, and realise at the end of the day, at least it gave me something to blog about. 😉