This past week, I messed up big time, which led to a professional I respect very much messing up big time, which almost ruined a big, important, life-changing event.
That’s a really big mistake, folks.
I’ll admit, when it all went down my first reaction was shock, then my skin went icy with horror, then I pretty much just wanted to go to bed and cry until everyone had forgotten about me for all time. But we all have to wear our big-kid pants, right? I am happy to report that it was because everyone was wearing their big-kid pants that the situation was resolved with no one was blaming anyone else, and no one walked away angry. In fact, I think we all developed an increased respect for each other because of the way things were handled by everyone involved.
The professional, when she realized her mistake, immediately devoted herself to correcting it. Not only did she resolve the issue very quickly, she surpassed everyone’s expectations and left us somewhat stunned by the results. And she did it all with a great deal of compassion and class. That’s why she’s a professional.
When I realized my mistake, I made immediate efforts to assist in the resolution (um, where I wasn’t needed, because the professional had it under control), and I apologized sincerely to the professional and to the others affected by the mistake, and I admitted my wrongdoing. It’s a blow to ego and pride to admit failure and apologize, but I think it’s really important to show colleagues and clients that sometimes I mess up, too, but I’m going to face up to it and fix it the best I can. We’re all only human, after all.
Most importantly, I (and probably the professional) learned a whole lot about double-checking and verifying things with the right people well in advance of major projects. Because of this snafu, I’m less likely to make this mistake again, and I’ve developed a new attention to particular details and processes where I was, apparently, formerly deficient. If I had run away and hidden, I would be much worse off for it as a businessperson and as a human being.
May your week also lead you to greater professionalism and personal growth!