Nov 28, 2022

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How to Bounce Back When You’ve Screwed Up Big Time

personal, The Anxious Creative

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It can be overwhelming and confusing when you make a mistake. There’s nothing worse than beating yourself up over a human moment. Dawn is sharing a vulnerable story of when she messed up big time. 

Keep reading and you’ll walk away knowing: 

  • That it’s human to make mistakes

  • There’s no way to avoid making mistakes

  • How to extend kindness, compassion, and empathy to yourself

You’ll learn that you can give yourself grace when you mess up and that it’s not the end of the word. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes!

listen now to this episode below or keep scrolling to read the full post

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Navigating Mistakes in Life and Business

Realizing you’ve made a huge error can be like a punch to the gut and it’s probably one of the worst feelings ever. I know I always want to run and hide when these situations happen, especially when it’s a client’s hair, a friend, or a family member. 

It can make you spiral into a dark place where you feel utterly awful. 

You wonder what you could possibly do to ease this terrible feeling. Me, in the past, I’ve usually run away or tried to change the story to make it easier to soothe myself and I forget to be honest and vulnerable. 

And being honest and vulnerable can be a superpower that we can bring into our lives and businesses that will transform the way we feel when we make mistakes, mess up, or when we’re very human. 

Did I Just Send That?

I did the stupidest thing that I’ve done in a really long time. I was visiting my parent’s a couple of weeks ago and my mom and I were chatting and I had been texting with a friend at the same time.

My mom and I got on a particular topic and we were having a deep discussion about it. Because I had just been talking to my friend, it reminded me of a situation they were currently in and I started telling my mom about it. 

It was information that wasn’t really mine to share, and even though my mom didn’t know this friend, I was probably inserting some judgment into what I was saying. 

I finished up my point to my mom and picked up my phone, I noticed there was a message sitting there and I figured I hadn’t pressed send on the last text that I typed up, so I just pressed send. 

And the moment I pressed send I realized that my phone had recorded a voice-to-text of everything that I had said to my mom about that friend. 

I immediately freaked out. I dropped the F-bomb multiple times in a row (and I rarely swear in front of my parents) and I just kept telling myself that I was the worst person in the world. 

I started Googling how to unsend a WhatsApp message, only to find out that you can’t. And then, all of a sudden, it showed the “read” icon and it felt like my heart stopped. 

My hands were shaking, my gut was in my throat, and panic was surging through me. And I just frantically started texting. 

I basically started self-deprecating in an attempt to fix the mess I had gotten myself into. I apologized profusely and explained that I was talking to my mom and I was concerned and my phone recorded it. 

I felt so shitty and I knew I was being judgmental and how hurtful that would be. I couldn’t imagine how upsetting that would be to read.

In the end, I sent seven texts in a row. I knew there was nothing I could do to undo that and that if it sabotaged our friendship I understood. I told them that I never wanted to hurt them and I knew how hurtful that text message was. 

Their response? “Hey, I know you didn’t mean to send that. Do you want to hop on the phone and clear this up?”

Talk about a mature response! I’d never been in a situation where conflict was dealt with in a mature and healthy way. The fact that they wanted to get on the phone and talk this through meant a lot to me. 

And it helped that I had just listened to a podcast where they talked about how to give a real apology. So I wanted to make sure that I gave my friend the apology they deserved. 

Owning Your Mistake

I wanted to make sure that I could own what I did in its completeness. I wasn’t going to run away from this as I have in the past, or make up some story to try to make it seem like it wasn’t as bad. 

One thing that I’ve learned through my therapist is that I sometimes turn things into a bigger deal than it is. 

I immediately started telling myself that I was the worst person in the world. I couldn’t believe I had said all those things. 

In hindsight, yes, it wasn’t a good text to send. The fact that I was sharing someone else’s life details with my mom, which wasn’t mine to share was really uncool. If I had really been concerned about my friend, I should have talked to them directly. 

I surprised myself by going into frantic action mode trying to fix my mistake. I often freeze in those situations. 

So my friend got on the phone with me and we chatted. She told me that it was okay, everything was fine. 

I told her that I know I’ll talk about other people’s emotions and try to soothe people who offend me because I don’t know how to feel my own emotions. I said that if other emotions come up later on, to please let me know. I didn’t want to sweep anything under the rug. I was ready to deal with this head-on. 

So I checked in on them the next day and they extended so much grace towards me which I didn’t feel deserving of.

My therapist noticed something recently and that’s that I feel like I need to suffer a lot. This inadvertently means I feel like the people in my life also have to suffer for things that they’ve done. I set the expectation for myself and then I put that expectation onto other people. 

Trauma Response

So as my friend and I have been talking, I’ve been sharing my journey and something that I’ve had a really hard time saying out loud is that I was in a really mentally, emotionally, and psychologically abusive marriage.

Thankfully, it only lasted 2 years, but it took me a really long time to be able to use the word “abuse” and I still struggle. I’m a strong, confident, independent woman and I wouldn’t let someone treat me like that. And yet, I did…

The more I’ve learned about mental, emotional, and psychological abuse the more I realize that it’s had a lasting effect on me to this day. And I hate that. 

I remember getting in the car after socializing with my ex-husband and getting in trouble for how I made him look or for things I said that looked or sounded bad. 

I got so used to that and so paranoid of being reprimanded that I would literally start sending out apology texts to my friends after we’d hang out. Because I would always get in trouble for something I said or did and I would feel like I had to apologize, I just started doing it preemptively. 

I take on blame very quickly. 

It even took me a long time before I could look at the text I had sent. I realize now that was shame. 

I felt embarrassed. I felt awful. I felt exposed as the ugliest version of myself. 

You see, I’ve tried so hard to hide the judgment and I’ve worked so hard to get rid of it. I used to be a very self-righteous, judgmental person. And I’ve worked so hard to not be that person anymore because I don’t subscribe to that anymore. 

I am a much more accepting and gracious person, but I’m still human. And admitting I’m judgmental is really hard because I would never want anyone to feel judged by me. 

Kindness, Compassion, & Empathy

What I’ve come to realize is that I’m very judgemental of myself. I’m very hard on myself. 

And what I teach inside of my programs and Rock Your Business is kindness, compassion, and empathy always. 

More often than not, the reason we’re self-conscious about things, whether that’s putting your face online, showing up and doing things, is not that we’re scared of what other people might think of us, but we’re scared that other people are going to judge us as harshly as we’ve judged other people. 

The moment I started becoming kinder and more compassionate with myself, the more I started to fear less what other people might think of me. 

I’m so thankful to my friend for being so gracious. They could have easily been offended and hurt and just stopped talking to me. Something I’ve done before in the past. 

But this wasn’t a friendship I wanted to walk away from. This is a friend who means so much to me and has been with me through so much. It truly broke my heart to know that I could have hurt them. 

I’ve been on the receiving end of walking in on people talking about me negatively and it’s had a lasting effect. The thought that I could have made someone feel that pain really broke me. 

Now, I need to make it clear that I’m not the victim in this situation. I did a horrible thing. But a couple of weeks after it happened I went and read the text and I really made it into something way worse than it was. 

I was actually judging myself for what I had done and projected that onto my friend. 

Facing It Head On

The biggest aha moment for me was realizing that conflict and confrontation aren’t fun to deal with, but if we stop running away from them and deal with them head-on and we own our shit, it can be really beautiful. 

If you wanna hear the message I sent to my friend that I was really proud of, you’ll wanna hit play and listen to the podcast above. 

I realized that shame can be a powerful emotion. Shame makes you think you’re bad, instead of you did a bad thing. 

And I really struggle with shame and that’s why I’ve avoided conflict and confrontation because I don’t want to be at fault. 

So when it’s coming from my business or my life, clients, friends, or family, I avoid it because then I feel like it affirms that I’m a bad person. When really it means that I’m human and I’m going to make mistakes and bad decisions and they don’t define who I am. 

Sometimes we’re going to lose relationships with clients, friends, and family, sometimes we have to walk away from relationships to keep ourselves healthy. 

I want you to know that if you’ve messed up in a big way, whether it be in your life or business, you are not a bad person. You maybe made a bad decision or maybe made a mistake, but it doesn’t make you bad. 

And running away from conflict and confrontation is not the answer. It will only haunt you and consume you. But if you deal with it head-on, as uncomfortable as it may be, it can be really healing. 

Learning to deal with when things fall apart and bringing them back together can actually make things stronger. 

Thanks for letting me get really real and honest with you about this with you. I am definitely very human and I made a big mistake, but that mistake does not define me. All I can do is try to move through it as best I can. 

When I’ve had mistakes in business or mistakes with clients, I have not always handled them in a way that I am proud of. I’ll be totally honest I have run and hidden from things more than once. 

And so I want to help you have these crucial conversations in life and business because they’re so important for you to be able to move forward in a way that makes you feel proud of how you’ve handled them. 

If you want to get a bit more help with communicating or setting boundaries in business, check out my online program ROCK YOUR BUSINESS, enrollment is opening up in a few weeks and I’d love to have you join. 

Friend, you are amazing. You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s okay. And although I wish there was a way for you to be prepared for every single scenario in life and business, I know that being around a community that loves and supports you is the most important. 

Until next time, friend. 

Let’s be besties?

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I am just a small-town, Canadian gal from the prairies who teaches thousands of creatives around the globe how to earn 6-figures stress-free!

Hey, I’m Dawn!

“Rock Your Business” Course Creator, Host of “The Anxious Creative” Podcast. Named by Salon Magazine as Canada’s #1 women of influence.

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