How To Recover From a Professional Setback

Screenshot 2016-01-22 21.58.30A few days ago, I asked my Instagram community if they've ever had a blow up or emotional meltdown at work and what they did to overcome it. Often times we work so hard to carefully develop our personal brand and then BAM, just like that one incident can threaten to undo all the progress we made up to that point. Although there was consensus that issues will and do arise over the course of one's career, there were differing opinions as to how to move past these issues. We know professional curve balls are inevitable, but they don't have to wreak havoc on your reputation and personal brand.

Related: The Truth About Personal Brand


Read on for 3 classy ways to recover from a professional setback with your career in tact.

Admit you made a mistake.  Whether you've just had a blow up with a colleague in front of everyone {including your boss}, burst into a puddle of tears at a meeting, or sent a confidential email to the wrong person, mistakes happen.  It's one of the the side effects of being human. Own up to your error and avoid being defensive.  Although there may be consequences for the mistake, the outcome is almost never career ending if you take responsibility for what you've done.

Be solutions oriented.  Another way to move past your mistake is to have a solution {or solutions} to the problem.  Just yelled at your cubicle-mate?  Draft your apology.  Gave your client the wrong metrics? Call them to explain the mistake and assure them you will send the correct figures over right away.  Nine times out of ten, as long as you've escalated to your boss and provided a list of possible solutions, you will have the support you need to move on.

Create a revised plan. Although mistakes are unavoidable, it doesn't mean they are easily forgettable.  You will have to adjust your moves in order to remind people of your brand and work ethic.  As part of your process of resolving the issue, come up with a strategy that shows you are deliberately working on making sure the mistake does not happen again.  Sign up for conflict resolution training.  Delete the auto-fill feature when inputting email recipients' names.  Create a double check process before submitting any final numbers.  Once your boss sees that you've not only fixed the original mistake, but are doing your part to ensure it doesn't happen again, it won't be long before all is forgotten.

At the end of the day, it's not making a mistake that is detrimental to our career, instead it's how we recover from that mistake.  Use these tips the next time you find yourself in the midst of a career crisis.