How to Recover From a Huge Blunder

How to Recover From a Huge Blunder

Have you ever made a cringe worthy mistake? One that ruins not just your day but the week or weeks following? One where you can’t stop obsessing about your failings? Yes? You’re not alone.


I made a big mistake last year. A mistake that I was so embarrassed about I couldn’t talk about it to anyone except my husband and one friend. I had a huge amount of shame around my blunder. But with time, distance and overcoming my gaffe I’m now ready to talk about it and share the lessons learned.

I was in my car doing errands when I got a phone call from a client. She said, “Are you on your way?” I was totally confused. What did she mean I asked? Well, it turns out I was supposed to be giving a training to their employees that day. What? It wasn’t on my calendar. How could that be?  My heart raced, I broke out in a cold sweat and I felt panicked. I quickly drove home and looked at the client contract. Yep, sure enough that was the date of the training and it was not on my calendar! The CEO of the company called me and shared his disappointment with me. Of course he was disappointed. He and his employees had blocked off that time on their calendars and were sitting and waiting for me.

So, what did I do? I apologized and admitted I had really messed up. I told him I would do the training at another date that was convenient for him for half the price and I would also give each of the participants a copy of my book. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to have me back after I, an etiquette consultant, had inconvenienced them so much. He said he would think about it. I understood. I had truly blown it. So, I waited and prayed he would give me another chance. I’m a great trainer and I knew if he allowed me to give the training he would be happy.

As the weeks passed by with no word my mistake haunted me. A couple weeks later I saw that I had put the training on my calendar for the same date of the month but one month later. I emailed the CEO and explained what had happened and again apologized, but no word back from him.

I beat myself up continually – How could you have been so stupid? What is your problem? You’re a failure! Have you ever said those things to yourself? I was sure he had decided not to have me back. I was devastated.

But, in the meantime, I took steps to make sure this would never happen again. I looked at the contracts of all of my upcoming engagements and checked that the correct dates were on my calendar. I got a white board and listed the future trainings and speaking engagements I had so that I could see the list every day.

Then one day, several months later, my contact emailed me to ask if I could do the training in December. Thankfully I was available the date she inquired about and I quickly responded I was. My spirits lifted. I was so happy I was going to be given a second chance. They had to change the date to later in December but again I was happy I was available. If I had had something else on my calendar that wasn’t client related I would have changed it so I could make the training date for this client.

I then thought about how I was going to discuss my major gaffe with the training participants. I didn’t want it hanging in the air. I decided to make myself an example of how you handle a mistake.

This is how I opened my presentation:


Hello everyone! Etiquette training take two.

I want to apologize for missing the June training. You might be thinking, it’s rather ironic an etiquette consultant missed an etiquette training. Well, yes it is. I had a scheduling snafu where somehow I had the date on my calendar as July 20, not June 20, so, my deepest apologies for inconveniencing you.

But there are lessons to be learned from my rather big mistake. The first one is etiquette is not about being perfect. That said; I would hope this kind of a mistake is few and far between. But, we are all imperfect beings, including etiquette consultants and it’s how we handle those mistakes that makes the difference.

When you mess up, take responsibility. Don’t try to hide or deny your mistake. In my case, I admitted my error and apologized.

Then, make up for the mistake. I offered to do the training another time at half the price and I included a copy of my book for each of the participants.

And then, take precautions to make sure it never happens again. I guess that worked because here I am, committed to giving you a great training.

So, next time you make a mistake, apologize, take responsibility and make it right. And remember, no one is perfect, not even etiquette consultants.

I got some smiles and laughs and the evaluation forms for my training were positive, so I guess I did okay.

So, if you made a major mistake that you’re still beating yourself up about remember we are all imperfect beings who sometimes mess up. Make amends and do what you can to try not to repeat the same mistakes again.

Have you made a huge blunder that you had to recover from? If so, what did you do? Were you able to recover?

Arden Clise
Personal Development
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Arden Clise, President of Clise Etiquette, is an expert in the field of etiquette. As a speaker, trainer and coach, Arden has helped thousands of professionals, from executive ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: April 17-21

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on IRIS.xyz, April 17-21, 2017 


Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!


1. Market Keeping You up at Night? Look for the Right Hedge


Like so many others in the industry, I was wrong. For years, I was certain that the bull market was nearing its end. I thought the market was over-extended, and that, surely, the wild equities run was coming to an end. But everyone else was bullish, and perhaps rightfully so. And while I’ve watched equities continue on their spectacular rise, I do think now is the time (really!) to put a hedge in place. Here’s why. Here’s how. — Adam Patti

2. How to Manage Bond Market Pain and Seek the Gain When Rates Are Rising


The realities for fixed income investors have changed. How is this being reflected in markets? Bond investing has become increasingly difficult over the past decade. Markets have been heavily distorted by ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing, as well as by extreme risk aversion in response to the global economic crisis and the eurozone debt crisis. — Nick Gartside

3. Seven Reasons You'll Fail as a Financial Advisor


Is being a financial advisor worth it? I am an optimistic person and I encourage other people to keep a positive mental attitude (shout-out to Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone). However, by taking a good, hard look at the negatives in life, we can successfully pivot towards the positive aspects that will help us achieve our goals. — James Pollard

4. The Secret to Turning Every Prospect into a Client


How do you treat one of your most valued, existing clients? Here’s a list of some things that come to mind. — Andrew Sobel

5. Why Do Clients Change Advisors?


According to many advisors I speak with, the only clients that leave are those who have died. And while attrition may not be a big problem in this industry, I have to assume that at least a few clients change advisors without doing so via the funeral home. — Julie Littlechild

6. Why You Should Focus on Getting Referral Sources


I was talking with an advisor last week about how to get into conversations about what he does. He was relaying the story of going jogging with a friend who could be a good client but is, more importantly, connected to a large network of people who fit this advisors ideal client description. — Stephen Wershing

7. How Big Picture Thinkers Seize More Opportunities in 7 Steps


Big picture thinkers are not unicorns - rare and mystical. And they were not born with the innate ability to think big. They do, however, pay attention to the broader landscape and take the time to think, analyze and evaluate. — Jill Houtman and Danny Domenighini

8. 5 Actions to Build Your Reputation


Your reputation is who you are and how you show up, Monday to Monday®.  Many of us take our image and reputation for granted.  Give careful thought to the kind of reputation that you would be proud of Monday to Monday® and that would resonate with your purpose and priorities. — Stacey Hanke

9. How Are You Poised to Begin Welcoming GenZ to Your Workplace?


The generational changing of the guard is a fact of life as old as time. Young replaces old in responsibility, importance, control and culture. Outside of the family, the workplace is perhaps where this is seen most regularly by most people. — Shirley Engelmeier

10. Are Price Objections REALLY Price Objections?


Next time you hear your prospects give you price objections, it’s not because of the price. The give price objections because they don’t know the full value proposition that they’d be paying for. And it’s not based on their need, or your features and functions. It’s based on the buying criteria they want to meet internally. — Sofia Carter

11. Understanding the Economic Value of Transition Deals


Last week we wrote about the economic rationale behind going independent vs. moving to another major firm as an employee. As a follow-up topic, we thought it prudent to analyze transition packages attached to big firm moves and peel back the layers of the onion to show the components of these deals. — Louis Diamond

Douglas Heikkinen
Perspective
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IRIS Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues to ... Click for full bio