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

How We're Investing in the Search for a Cancer Cure

How We're Investing in the Search for a Cancer Cure

Written by: Frank Jennings, Ph.D., Portfolio Manager

I hate cancer.


I’ve lost one too many friends to this insidious disease and I’ve made it a priority to be part of the effort to find a cure for it. Every day, I draw motivation from the people I’ve lost in my work as Portfolio Manager of Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund.

I may not be a doctor or medical industry professional, but the work my team and I do has brought us to the front lines of the ongoing fight against cancer. The Fund’s guiding philosophy is to invest in emergent growth companies that we believe have the potential to grow into large, highly profitable businesses.

Our search for these types of companies has given me renewed hope that we are closer than ever to finding a cure for one of the deadliest scourges humanity has ever known.

OppenheimerFunds’ Role in the Fight


Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund invests in a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are developing breakthrough drugs that can potentially treat the disease more effectively without debilitating side effects, make it easier for patients to manage pain, and possibly even lower the cost of treatment.

The cutting-edge therapies that are in development may even pave the way to the ultimate goal – a cure for all forms of the disease. Of course, one glance at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) website is all it takes to remind us we’re in a fight that often feels like an uphill race against time.

At some point in their lifetime, nearly 40% of the population will be diagnosed with cancer, according to the NCI. Last year in the United States alone, 1.7 million people received this dreaded news from their doctor, while nearly 600,000 people succumbed to the disease.1

These statistics certainly make it fair to ask why I’m so optimistic about the future of cancer treatment and the potential for a cure.

Well for starters, just consider that geneticists have finally mapped the entire human genome. Today, 100 million people have had their genomes mapped, which has enabled us to confirm, for example, that there is a particular gene mutation that places some women at a high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer at some point in their life.

This is important on several fronts. First, it allows doctors to know beforehand whether or not a cancer drug will work on a patient due to the genetic makeup of the cancer. This means fewer drugs will be prescribed inappropriately. It may even help bring promising new treatments to market faster.

By knowing a cancer’s genetic makeup, drug trials can be conducted only on people with a high probability of success. In turn, this will result in less money wasted, better outcomes for patients, and ultimately, faster approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other international regulatory bodies.

The Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Companies We Believe In


One of the largest holdings in the portfolio is in a company that develops and markets therapies that mimic a person’s own immune system to fight cancer. This particular company, which is headquartered in the U.S., recently developed a new antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology that allows its medications to attack cancer cells with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.

This firm has a number of innovative cancer medications at its disposal – including therapies for treating various types of lymphoma. The company continues to sign partners onto its proprietary ADC technology, and we believe it is well-positioned to earn millions in royalties over the long term, making it an attractive acquisition target for larger drug makers. 

There are a number of European pharmaceutical and biotech firms in the portfolio as well, including another company that specializes in immunotherapy – which seeks to boost the body’s immune system to fight off cancer.

Analysts have predicted this company’s treatment for multiple myeloma has blockbuster potential. And although the drug is primarily used to fight blood cancer, there are signs that it could also work against solid tumors as well. Now beyond the “cash-burning stage” that afflicts most drug makers at some point, this company is on track to becoming a mature biotech firm that’s positioned for strong overall sales and steady royalty income in the near future.

Over the last five years, shares of this company have climbed more than 2,000% and we see potential for continued strong future growth.

How the Cancer Fight Aligns with My Investment Philosophy


I believe companies have a lifecycle – just like people do. There’s a beginning, adolescence, prime years, and an eventual decline phase. Companies usually begin as entrepreneurial ventures powered by the spirit of a startup. If they’re successful, they gradually mature into corporate entities and can enjoy an extended run of success. The decline phase typically takes root when companies get too big and bogged down by bureaucracy, regulation and saturated markets.

The Fund seeks to invest in businesses that still have exponential growth ahead of them. I’ve been excited to discover that there are quite a few companies like this at the forefront of the fight against cancer. Investing in these types of companies within the Oppenheimer Global Opportunities Fund can help clients achieve their desired investment outcomes, which is my top priority as a portfolio manager.

Combining this core mission with my personal desire to see cancer eradicated is one of the most gratifying parts of my job.

Learn more about how we think about investments differently, visit challengetheindex.com



Foreign investments may be volatile and involve additional expenses and special risks, including currency fluctuations, foreign taxes, regulatory and geopolitical risks. Emerging and developing market investments may be especially volatile. Eurozone investments may be subject to volatility and liquidity issues. Investments in securities of growth companies may be volatile. Mid-sized company stock is typically more volatile than that of larger company stock. It may take a substantial period of time to realize a gain on an investment in a mid-sized company, if any gain is realized at all. Fixed income investing entails credit and interest rate risks. When interest rates rise, bond prices generally fall, and the Fund’s share prices can fall. Below-investment-grade (“high yield” or “junk”) bonds are more at risk of default and are subject to liquidity risk. Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against loss.

Mutual funds and exchange traded funds are subject to market risk and volatility. Shares may gain or lose value.

These views represent the opinions of OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are as of the publication date, and are subject to change based on subsequent developments.

Carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Visit oppenheimerfunds.com or call your advisor for a prospectus with this and other fund information. Read it carefully before investing. 

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