Mistakes happen. That’s just life. No more than now in our time in history, have human beings had more things pinging us, taking up our time and attention and causing us distractions.

Plus, none of us are perfect. We are all perfectly human, which means we are going to make mistakes from time to time. Making a mistake doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But, it does become bad to the bone if you don’t take responsibility for them.

I’ve seen people lose contracts, relationships, jobs, all their money and their own lives, by not owning up to their mistakes early on. The erroneous thinking behind the just say “no, I didn’t do it” mentality seems to stem from a belief that if they don’t assume responsibility for their error, they will avoid any negative consequences. But, nothing can be further from the truth. The fact is that the damage done will compound daily making it harder and harder to make it right and causing the cost of damages to skyrocket.

All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.
~Winston Churchill

The Top Five Ways to Make Mistakes Work For Not Against You:

1. Remember honestly is always the best policy. If you are tempted to cover up a mistake, just take a moment to reflect on any of the multitude of events in history, whether it be in politics, entertainment or the news that prove the fact that there is no escaping mistakes and that the longer one waits to come clean, the worse the fall-out. Cut your losses, admit the truth and move on with creating success in your life.

2. Tender a sincere apology. There is nothing more disarming than a heartfelt apology and willingness to fix the mistake. Fighting begets more fighting, but taking responsibility paves the way for a better and stronger future with or without the other party.

3. Take stock of how/why the mistake was made. Were you working while too tired, trying to do too much on your own or to cut corners? Maybe you were engaging in a compulsive behavior or did something out of fear rather than out of rational thinking. Get to the bottom of why it happened and learn from it to make yourself become wiser, healthier, stronger and smarter.

4. Have compassion for yourself and others. Don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes. Make an amends, forgive yourself and move on. The more time and energy you spend on dwelling on it, only robs you of opportunities for greater success.

5. Take the 2nd step after sorry. Saying your sorry, is just the 1st step in the making an amends process. To move out of damages and into success, one must make a behavioral amends by taking the action now and in the future to prevent the same mistake from happening again.

If you want to achieve and sustain success, take responsibility for your mistakes and address them head on and early on to avoid losses and potentially permanent failure.

In Closing My Shocking Confession: I had asked my mortgage lender to modify my loan. Simple ask. Commonly done, especially during the great recession. I did it through the proper channels. I was being advised by my attorney how to do it within the proper guidelines of lending practices. Next thing I know, I receive direct contact from the CFO of this National Bank. I think that’s super cool…until…he turned into a predator. But, I didn’t know it until it was too late. All the documents he was requesting via email from me,  I supplied easily and effortlessly, without ado. His tone started to become aggressive, argumentative and accusatory. Things started to spiral out of control. He tried to block me from making my mortgage payments forcing me into default. It was a nightmare. What he didn’t know, was that he just messed with the wrong person. I’m a champion of the truth. I had all his emails proving out his lies and when I confronted him with the lies, he just wouldn’t back down. He brought legal action against me. In the meantime, I contacted the lending oversight authorities and the Founder of the bank and supplied them with the evidence. Within a short time, I had a formal apology from the bank CEO, the legal suit dropped and a letter from the Founder letting me know that the CFO had been fired.