Learning from Mistakes
I’ve never told this story, but my cursor sits blinking on the screen as if it’s asking me to tell it. You win, little cursor. You win. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t bring this example to light. When I thought about what we learn from our mistakes, this story came to me first.
I’ve worked at a very large company for over twenty years. The teams I work with have become almost like family. We talk every weekday, travel together, and know each other well. Every year, we attend a weeklong event with over a thousand team members from around the world. We socialize, brainstorm, and connect. It’s a true working forum.
However, the work environment for me has always been a delicate dance between knowing your co-workers personally while keeping it professional. The longer you work with people, the more difficult this dance. One night during our annual event, we were at a restaurant and bar. I was talking with one of our top sales reps who lived on the East Coast. She had a mixed drink and then elbowed me to join her for a second, which turned into a third. My head was spinning, my judgment skewed and my personality temporarily altered by the alcohol.
As the evening went on, I mustered up the confidence to walk over and strike up a conversation with our vice president, with whom I rarely spoke. The evening came to an end, so we boarded the bus and were driven back to the hotel.
The next morning I woke up mortified. What had I done? What were the company and employees saying about me? I’ve ruined my personal brand. I’m such an idiot!
I could either hide or fight. After a week of torture and ruminating, my fight came out. I decided I needed to release this burden I was carrying around. I had to face it. I had to find the gain in my pain. The only way out was to call and apologize to the vice president. Knowing I might forget everything because of nerves, I wrote down a few carefully crafted sentences. I dialed his number, and on the first ring, he answered! With shaking, sweaty hands, I read my sentences aloud. When I was done, I closed my eyes, waiting to be chastised or blown off.
The opposite happened. He told me that I was brave and that not a lot of people would have had the courage to make that call. I apologized again and we ended our conversation. A year later, the same weeklong event came around. When I saw him, he went out of his way to greet me. It was just a brief hello, but I took it as him saying,
“It’s okay. We all make mistakes, but you did a brave and difficult thing—you faced it.” He continued to greet me every year after my apologetic call.
The greatest battle in life is negative self-talk. The enemy, often the only enemy, is in your own mind. Staying broken often feels more comfortable. You know how to be down and out. You’re in a familiar place; you’re in control. The uncomfortable place is your potential, the voice that keeps telling you to get back up. This is often the harder choice because it’s unknown; it feels beyond your control.
Do I regret my poor choices that night? Yes, but I can’t change the past, so I must make the best of it. That experience became a valuable life lesson. No one is immune to mistakes, so own them and right your wrongs. Do the difficult work and keep going, even when life gets tough.
You’ve got this:
We all make mistakes. How we respond to our own mishaps can turn disappointment into respect from others and build confidence within ourselves.
Dina Mauro has worked in the technology industry for over twenty-five years, twenty with one of the largest IT companies in the world. Through her love for animals, Dina began rescuing dogs, volunteering, and, ultimately, writing.
Dina is the author of A Dose of Tia: How a Woman and Her Rescued Dog Embraced Life Through Volunteering – and How You Can, Too. Initially, as a personal, heartfelt gift to her sons, but later published for the public, Dina went on to pen You’ve Got This! The Grad’s Guide to the Big, Rich, Magnificent Life You Deserve.
About You've Got This!
As a parent, author Dina Mauro was so hyper-focused on competing and comparing her children to other children that she almost lost sight of what they required to thrive. She realized that when they thrive, everything in their lives falls abundantly into place.
“When traveling down life’s road, don’t simply step forward—leap toward your magnificent life. You’ve got this!
You’ve Got This! The Grad’s Guide to the Big, Rich, Magnificent Life You Deserve steers the reader through critical “markers” along life’s way: improving oneself, conquering obstacles, achieving goals, and cultivating relationships. Other stops on the journey include heading off to college, entering the work world, making decisions, managing technology, speaking in public, and many more.
You’ve Got This! is a long-overdue guidebook that illuminates forty-seven achievable strategies and real-world advice for not just living—but thriving! Now grads have the roadmap for facing challenges that left untouched can become big distractions to an exceptional life.