Recovering From Mistakes

Let’s be honest…. we’re all human, and with that comes the frailty of not being perfect, which in turn means that we make mistakes.

You can’t run away from it. It’s a fact. At some point in your life you’ll make a mistake. Whether that’s in your professional or personal life – you will make an error at some point.

What sets you apart from the pack though, is how you overcome it.

I must confess that I’ve made some absolute blunders in my time. I’m not going to list them here, but some were more public than others.

Working in fast paced media environments, it can be very easy to fall into the blame culture that so often surrounds us in modern day life. Emails that must have been caught in spam and not receiving a text are the two which spring to mind.

But here’s the difference that’s going to set you apart if you plan on being successful in anything that you do…be honest.

I know, I know – that’s easier said than done. Maybe the computer did put that email in spam, maybe that text is lost somewhere in the network, but being honest about anything you do is quite simply the easiest solution of all, even when you are actually in the wrong – as much as that hurts.

Being prepared to admit that you’ve got something wrong will in the long run save so much hassle further down the line. Sure it can be humiliating, but what you will learn is that people would rather know that they have someone on their side who is prepared to put their hand up and say that they’ve made a mistake, than someone who tries to hide and bury the evidence.

The hardest part of all however, is picking yourself up and recovering from the initial error.

In my younger days there were times I had edited audio which I thought was spot on, but actually I missed something glaringly obvious which really should not have been in there. It happens, and it’s very easy to fall into the trap of losing confidence in your work and abilities, but mistakes like this make you more robust for the next time.

I made an error a number of years ago on an outside recording. I took the time to test the equipment in the office, making sure that I had everything that I need – the recorder, a power supply, notebook, spare microphone and a stand. What I hadn’t banked on however was the power supply fooling me into thinking it was powering the handheld recorder, when in fact it was being powered by the batteries.

It wasn’t until I got to the recording venue that I realised this absolute clanger of an error, and the power supply that should have worked had been mixed up into another recording bag. The batteries ran flat on the recorder during the interview and for a matter of minutes I was stumped at what to do.

Luckily we live in the smart phone era where apps allow us to make recordings onto our phones, and I was able to salvage the rest of the interview with the guest. It didn’t look great that I was so unprepared for such a silly error, and it ate me up inside with every other recording I ever made.

That incident alone is now the sole reason I triple check everything before I go out on a recording now, as well as why I always take the batteries out of the recorder to the test it. But it also is a great lesson to take away from whatever you’re doing.

Experience is what gets us through the other side of our mistakes.

Before that one incident I was perfectly capable of making recordings, and I still am. But the experience of making such a big mistake is what allows me to continue to have confidence in my work because I know that I have put procedures in place to make sure that if something now doesn’t work the first time, there’s always a back up plan I can fall back on.

If you’ve made a mistake recently, try not to let it get to you. It will of course take its toll and it may have some implications on whatever it is you’re working on; but we’re all human and we’re designed to learn from our mistakes, because If we didn’t, we’d never move forward.

Take whatever error you’ve made as a learning curve. Remember that you are where you in your career because of what you’ve done so far, one error is not going to stop you from moving forward.







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