If you are like most people I have met, you always taken ownership of your accomplishments and successes in life. You may have bragged to your family and friends. You may have proudly posted it on your social media profile for the world to see. Heck, when it was appropriate (or sometimes when it wasn’t) you probably did a little gloating at the office or on your resume. But do you own your mistakes the same way that you own your success? You should!
Owning success is easy!
Since early childhood most of us received praise when we did good. When we smiled for the first time, said our first word, took our first step or fed ourselves for the first time, your parents poured a heavy dose of praise on us.
As we grew our parents support of our successes came in praise. When we learned how to ride a bike, do a trick or earned good grades in school, we were praised.
Everyone loves praise, so we also learned at a young age that if our parents didn’t see our accomplishments to praise us, we needed to bring it to their attention.
“Look Mom! I cleaned my room by myself!” or “Hey Dad, I baited my fishing hook for the first time by myself”
Now that we are adults, we still seek that praise. If not from our parents, we seek it from our family, friends, co-workers and especially from our employer.
To accomplish getting praise we proudly brag about we did, telling everyone in earshot who might even be remotely interested in knowing what we have done and how we did it. That is called taking ownership of our success and it is easy to do.
What is hard to do is taking ownership of our mistakes.
When we fail or make a mistake in life (notice I did not say “if” because failure and mistakes are part of life) most people like to distance them from the mistake as quickly as possible.
No one wants to tell their wife that they overspent resulting in the need to file for bankruptcy. Just as none of us wanted to tell our parents that we failed the math exam. No one certainly wants to admit wrongdoing at work, after all that could cost them a promotion if not their job.
I know, it can be hard to own your mistakes.
My parents always told me that if I owned up for the mistakes I made it would be better in the long run. I never believed them, I kept lying and delaying telling the truth when I made a mistake until either I had no other choice, or they found out. In those occurrences the punishment harder on me, my parents angrier at me and disappointed in me longer then they would have been if I had told them the truth and owned my mistake earlier.
My parents were right, honesty is the best policy.
It took me many years into my adult life, before I realized that my parents were right. Owning up for your mistakes is better in the long run.
I have learned that if I own my mistakes, and do it promptly, often the people who are affected are less likely to be disappointed in me for as long as they would have if I had tried to hide the mistake.
The change in behavior was not easy, but I managed to do it.
For more than 20 years of my life I did everything I could do to avoid taking ownership of any mistake I made. I wanted people to think I was perfect when I was not.
When I started to see that my attempts to hide my mistakes or even cover up for them was not getting me where I wanted to be in life, I knew it was time to change. I knew it was the time to start the journey to becoming a better person.
If you still find yourself not taking ownership for your mistakes, I know it is going to be hard to change at first. Stay committed to your diester to change. Sure you will stumble at times, just be sure not to give up and you will be able to start owning your mistakes.
Owning our mistakes says so much about ourselves to others.
When we take ownership of our mistakes, as if they were our success, we are showing our friends, family and peers that we are people of integrity and character. Others will see us as someone they can trust. Often this will attract the right people into your life and it can advance your career.
So the next time you make a mistake, for example at work, own up to what you did and then brag about how you resolved the problem. It could advance your career, and if it does not then find a job that will appreciate a honest hard working person.