At some point you will have to make difficult decisions. Some bad and some good decisions will occur daily. For me, a very difficult decision was accepting the fact that my startup failed. Next hardest part was to bounce back from a bad decision.
While the fail ended up being for the best — it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. I thought that maybe I could turn things around — I said that closing-up shop wasn’t the right choice. Of course, I was wrong and closing the business ended up being the best course of action.
Without making that decision to close I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m grateful every single day that I closed and that I’m where I am today.
But, not everyone is as fortunate.
There are people who never truly bounce back from a bad decision. As a result, they never move-on and find success. People become mired in a past they can’t let go.
Thankfully, if you use these 10 techniques, you can bounce back from any bad decision that you make along your entrepreneurial journey.
1. Reflect on why you made the bad decision and regroup.
Mistakes are inevitable. So instead of your beating yourself up over making a bad decision — take a deep breath and think about why you made that particular decision. After some reflection you will gain some insight into the “why.” Did you had the fear of missing out? Did you have enough information in the first place?
Was it that important? Ask these questions and take time to think because it can help you from making the same mistake again. For example, let’s say you let an employee go because you heard rumors they were bullying other employees.
Unfortunately, after they’ve been let go, you find out that this was in-fact a vicious rumor. If you had taken the time to gather and evaluate all information related to this matter then you wouldn’t have made such a mistake.
After you’ve reflected on the matter, it’s time to regroup. Depending on the severity of the mistake, this could be simply leaving the office to grab lunch with a friend or scheduling a three or four day vacation. This way you can clear your head and keep back refocused.
2. Take full responsibility.
Even if your entire team dropped the ball it’s not beneficial to make excuses and point your fingers at others. There doesn’t always have to be blame. Move on. No matter how small of a role you played in the decision-making, you were still a part of the decision. Take ownership of the choices and actions you made.
As Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
3. Don’t throw yourself a pity party.
It’s easy to fall into this trap. You had a no good, terrible day because you made one mistake. You get angry, depressed, and want to dwell on the negative.
The thing is, when you get into that mentality, it’s tough to pick yourself-up and move-on. Set a timer for five minutes and scream into a pillow in the closet if you want to — but then move on. Hey, you have to in order to succeed.
But, how can you avoid staying connected to the pity party? One way that’s helped me is by adhering to the 24-hour rule used by legendary Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula.
Shula would permit only one day for himself, his coaching staff, and his players to celebrate or brood. After those 24-hours were up, it was time to prepare for the next game.
4. Remember your passion.
You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out. – Steve Jobs
It’s true. Especially when you experience a setback.
Focusing on your passion helps prevent you from dwelling on the mistake. It also gives your mind the chance to start searching for solutions. That’s because your eyes are set on your long-term goals and not the mishaps you’ve made along the way.
5. Shift from a mistakes to miss-takes mindset.
Are here two excellent questions from the folks over at Inner Space, “What if mistakes were in fact miss-takes? What if in every miss-take there is a gift?”
In other words, don’t look at a mistake at something that’s terrible. Instead, look for the “gift hidden in the mistake.”
How to do this:
- Don’t focus on what went wrong. Focus on what you learned or the benefits you gained.
- Think of it as a dress rehearsal where perfection isn’t expected. But, the more you practice, the better your performance is going to be.
- Slow down and be honest with yourself so that you can do some self-discovery. Maybe you slipped because you’re listening to the negativity around you and lacked the confidence to make a better decision.
6. Turn to your support system.
This could be your spouse, best friend, or mentor.
Or, anyone in your life who is positive and inspiring, but also who challenges you. You need this support system to not only lift your spirits, but also provide new insights into why you made the decision and what you should do going forward.
7. Focus on the present.
After you’ve made a bad decision, it’s incredibly easy to dwell on that. But, that’s ultimately a waste of your time.
It’s more productive to move on from your first choice by focusing on what’s currently happening. For example, you made a bad investment or marketing decision yesterday. But, today you just landed a new high-profile client.
Sure. That poor decision stung, but you still managed to grow your business.
In other words, don’t harp on the past. Think about all the positive things that are happening right now all around you.
8. Pay it forward.
Whether if it’s donating to a charity, volunteering, helping a neighbor with their groceries, or mentoring a new employee, paying it forward is a win-win. That’s because it gives you chance to think about something else, puts things in perspective, makes you happy, and improves your reputation.
9. Forgive yourself.
Whenever we accidentally wrong others we give them a sincere apology.
It makes everyone feel a little better. So, why not forgive yourself after you’ve made a bad decision?
Doing so will give you peace of mind and alleviate stress — which is beneficial to both your mental and physical health.
10. Make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Finally, you need to be proactive in making sure that you don’t repeat the same mistake over and over again.
Again, determine why you made the decision in the first place. Reflect on what you learned and what you can change right now. Apply that knowledge when making decisions in the future.