This Too Shall Pass – Getting Perspective on Making Mistakes

January 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

I was talking to a childhood friend of mine who is an anesthesiologist. What he liked best about his job is that every day he is challenged to do his best, because anything less can mean death for his patient. Wow, and I think I am under pressure at work?

The personal assistant’s job, while challenging and rewarding at times, also puts you first on the firing line.  Too often we do 1,000 things right only to be judged for that one thing that goes wrong. I know of what I speak since I am my worst prosecutor. Sometimes we get caught up in the drama of the moment or the daggers being thrown at us. We can either take them in the gut or catch them in our teeth (your choice).

The first thing to do is to acknowledge your mistake and why you made it. This includes taking full responsibility in your part and identifying what part others played. This is important because you will learn from this on how to (or not) proceed working with them in the future. Once you’ve learned the lesson by determining what you will do differently the next time, you must address any feeling of inadequacy you are having about the experience. For me, it’s all about getting back your perspective.

One little coping mechanism I have for when things go horribly wrong and I am beating myself up is what I call my point-of-view cam. I picture myself in my home dealing with whatever problem, tragedy or issue that I think is beyond me. In my mind, I pan out to the bigger surrounding of my home (similar to Google’s “birds eye view”) of my neighborhood, then the city, state, continent, from the moon, from our solar system, and beyond. And myself, which has now become an infinitesimal dot, makes me realize it’s not that bad in the grand overall scheme of things.  I have also learned that whatever issue that is bothering me now will not be one year from now. This, along with my doctor friend’s story, jolts me to reality as well.

Coping mechanism number two: sit back and put things in context by remembering people are poor, children are fighting for their lives, people are dying, parents have lost children. You will not be able to look at your “crisis” the same way. If other’s won’t let it go, then they’ve got to deal with it in their own way. By addressing the issue and letting others know you’ve taken responsibility and learned should lighten their load of knowing it won’t happen again.

I do my best to get the lesson in the experience and then I do an even better job of telling myself to “gettova it!”

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