top of page

Best bit of advice I've been given

Somebody asked me the other day what the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is and I didn’t have to think twice “Being able to forgive is a strength not a weakness”. When I was told this I had only ever considered it as about forgiving others but after the conversation last week it dawned on me that this piece of advice is relevant at work and that sometimes it’s not about forgiving others but forgiving ourselves when we mess up.

Sometimes with work and life in general it may find that you have what feels like a million things to do at once . and when you’re juggling a lot of balls there are times when you might drop them. Maybe you still haven’t replied to the message your mate sent you days ago, perhaps you shouted at the kids or maybe you’ve missed a deadline at work or you’ve given somebody the wrong information on a project your working on. Never fear. Everybody messes up at work sometimes, so here are some tips on how to forgive yourself when you screw up.

. Forgive yourself for mistakes at work

You’ve messed up and made a mistake. Chances are you feel frustrated, embarrassed or worried. Maybe you’ve realised you’ve sent a customer the wrong order, made an error in a report you’ve sent to your boss or accidentally emailed everybody in your contacts.

Give yourself some time to acknowledge what has happened and get ready to sort it out.

2. Confess and take responsibility

Whilst it wont help anybody to berate yourself and beat yourself up about the error you do need to take responsibility. Apologies to all those affected depending on the mistake this can be done face to face, in writing or over social media (mainly if it is an error that will effect all customers/service users). Avoid blaming others.

3. Do what you can to set things right

Create and communicate your plan to set things right, such as volunteering to work extra hours to undo the damage. If you caused a ripple effect that is now out of your ability to stop, let your boss or co-workers know you would still like to help, even if it means taking on some of their projects. This will help you rebuild accountability and trust.

When the dust settles, follow up to see if there are additional action items you can complete.

4. What have you learnt ?

Even mistakes have a silver lining as they give you a chance to learn. Think about how the error happened. Is there a glitch in the process? What will you do differently in the future?

Maybe ask others how they think you could have avoided this error.

This is where you can find the silver lining. This experience could reveal hiccups in your process or help you to be more careful in the future. Ask yourself, “What will I try to do differently? What still works?”

Ask peers for feedback on how you could have avoided this blunder.

5. Get back to work or move on

Don’t let it fester. Put it in perspective. This is one mistake amongst a myriad of successes. Focus on how things will be going forward and remember failure is a part of life. As Albert Einstein said “If you’ve never failed you’ve never lived”

What's the best bit of advice you've ever been given?

Rebecca Slater is a PR Consultant with more than 20 years public relations experience. She is based in Staffordshire and provides support to businesses all over the country.

Find out more at or email

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page