Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Stay Motivated After You've Made a Mistake

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to cry, go home and bury yourself under a blanket, or all of the above? We all have those days. We’ve all committed some blunder that is really and truly only ours to own. The question is, what do you do about it?

How you respond to disappointment could determine your eventual success or failure. Why? A really bad day can, at best, cause you to lose momentum, and at worst, cause you to lose your will to continue.

Here are some tips to survive a bad day:

Don’t add more pressure
Forget about turning lemons into lemonade. The first rule to follow when trying to turn around a bad day is to not try to turn around a bad day. Your goal should be to survive the day and minimize the long-term damage by agreeing not to make any decisions. After a barrage of bad news, your decision making ability will be all messed up. Take a break and, if possible, escape!

Avoid overgeneralization
It’s very common for someone to make a mistake and then have that mistake define their whole being. Forgive yourself and put the thing in perspective. The CEO may still give you holy grief but at least you will be easier on yourself. A mistake does not define you as a human being.

Avoid personalization
Some bad things happen that you have no control over. Pagliarini calls this a “cognitive distortion” — the tendency to blame yourself for negative events that are beyond your control.

Don’t obsess
You can go over and over in your mind and find the exact point at which you made a mistake. Maybe it was a conversation where you said something you shouldn’t have. But guess what? The instant replay never changes. You can’t turn back time and do or say something different. Focus instead on how you can move forward, past the incident.

Use a talisman
Maybe you have your diploma hanging on your office wall. Or maybe you have a picture of your spouse and kids. These things should remind you of what’s really important and be evidence of what you can do, not what you can’t or didn’t do.

Do whatever it takes to put things in perspective, because, who knows what good you might accomplish tomorrow.

References:
http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/career/?p=2026&tag=nl.e124
http://moneywatch.bnet.com/career-advice/blog/other-8-hours/bad-day-5-tips-to-keep-your-motivation/1269/
http://the-jasmines.blogspot.com/2009/03/what-to-do-if-you-make-big-mistake.html

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