I believe that it is possible to use mistakes you have made to your advantage. The story is fairly simple and all too familiar: you mess something up, and you are embarrassed. You are filled with a sense of dread and are lead to the belief that your mistake is irreparable.
You are now given the unique opportunity to respond to the problem in a way that not only alleviates tension, but makes you look qualified and intelligent. As Charles Swindoll says, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
Your attitude is everything at this point. In this article in the Elite Daily, author Ashley Fern says, “We can choose to live the life we want, no matter how tough it can get. It is all a matter of mentality, only we will prevent ourselves from achieving greatness. The rest are just small detours before we reach our destinations.”
When I was in the Gateway series of classes at UO, I misspelled the name of one of my sources in an article I had written. Classic rookie mistake. When I realized my error, I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. My first instinct was to flee Eugene.
Instead, I chose a more practical approach. I called up my source, explained my error, apologized and acknowledged that I was new to this and quite embarrassed. I told him I would rectify the mistake immediately and make sure his name was spelled correctly in all future publications of the article. He was understanding and responded well.
Although you won’t always get off that easy, taking the initiative to speak to the people involved in the mistake you have made can leave a positive impression. Instead of the dumb newbie journalism student who doesn’t know how to spell names correctly, I am the student who called her source and handled the situation with humility and offered solutions to the problem. My reputation precedes me, so I’m going to make sure it’s a professional one.