Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When I Make a Mistake

At my new job, they're big on fixing problems and mistakes which have been made. Which is an awesome thing. When a mistake happens, you shouldn't just sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn't happen. You have to fix it.

But let me tell you, there's not much more humbling than grabbing the blank card, hand-writing your apology, and walking it to the guests room. Yup. We hand write cards when we make a mistake. (Along with giving the guest some sort of freebee with the card.) I think it's an awesome touch, but writing them out sometimes is quite the humbling experience.

When starting something new, whether it's a job or a relationship or a project or whatever, we always want to put our best foot forward. We want to show people what we're made of and prove "Yes! I can do the thing! I am awesome at all of the things! Look at how great I am!" I don't know about you, but I hate making a mistake in these situations.

It reminds me of being at the preschool sometimes. We do a lot of conversations with the kids about saying I'm sorry and learning how to apologize. There are some kids who end up sitting in time out WAY longer than they originally would have simply because they refuse to step up and admit they did something wrong.

Admitting you're wrong is a hard thing to do.

The other day, when I walked into work, the manager on duty that day said they had seen some of my cards floating around. At first I asked "Is that a good thing?" To me, having the cards floating around meant I was screwing up. I kept making mistakes. He happily said it was. It meant that I was doing what I could to help take care of the guests. My apologies floating around was a good thing.

Later that evening I had made a big screw up. I mean... a BIG screw up. And I didn't even realize how big it was at first! Then I saw the manager's face and how he talked to me about it. Even the cook later who had been there during the conversation told me "We didn't mean to scare you Emily..." Because it had completely terrified me! But the manager then said "Just use this as a learning experience" and later in the evening teased me about it to show all was okay.

A day or two before, I was having a conversation with my boss about some things I needed to work on and I had shared how I kept letting my mistakes get to me because I knew I could do better. She reassured me that she doesn't expect me to be perfect. That we all make mistakes and that was okay and how she made them all of the time too.

A few weeks ago I had seen a quote on Tumblr which said something along the lines of "Self-love is important, but I think self-awareness is even more important. Sometimes you have to know that yeah, I can be an ass-hole." That's not a direct quote, but it was something along those lines.

We absolutely need self-love. We should celebrate the things we love about ourselves and what we're good at and our strengths. I love how our society is trying to be more encouraging and uplifting for people.

But we need self- awareness too. It's impossible for people to be perfect at every single thing. We need to know where we fall short. We need to know when we've messed up or said something mean or did something wrong. If we don't, we're lying to ourselves.

This isn't so we can dwell on it though. I know sometimes it can be a dangerous cycle of picking at the things we don't like about ourselves and dwelling on them and never focusing on anything else. That's why we need self-love.

When I was talking with my boss and the manager on duty, they said it's all about learning experiences. Taking that mistake, seeing why it was wrong, and then not doing the same thing again.

 At the preschool when we teach about apologizing, we also address forgiveness. When a student says "I'm sorry" to another student, the other needs to say "I forgive you" and then not hold the mistake over their heads. The kids who learn how to admit their mistakes and move on from them usually end up in time out far less than the kids who don't.

It's all a learning process. It's impossible for us to have everything right all of the time. In fact, I find it stressful to have it right all of the time. If I expected every single move, call, word, and action I took to be perfect, I think I would drive myself insane. The pressure of feeling like everything has to be right and perfect all of the time I think is exhausting.

It's not making excuses about what we've done wrong or saying it's okay. It's not. But knowing how to learn from them, fix it, and moving on. That's how we grow as people. If we never made mistakes, how would we grow?

Having to admit to these faults is hard and humbling. There will be times in the future when writing those apology notes will be hard to do. There will be times when I don't want to tell someone I'm sorry because I don't want to admit I did something wrong. But, those days will still happen at work and outside of work, and I need to still step up and make that apology. Because that's how I'll grow as a person and be able to finally move on.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! It's so true. I have to supervise some temporary employees at work right now & I always tell them to admit their mistakes right away so we can correct them- otherwise I sit there going "I know you're not perfect, oh God what are you doing that I don't know about?!"

    Forgiving myself for mistakes is much harder though- I am definitely my own worst critic.


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