Have you ever made a mistake that took a long time to get over or let go of? 

Years ago I played netball, I played a lot of netball, we’re talking a minimum of 3 nights a week and at least 2 games per night. If I made a costly mistake in any game I would replay that mistake over and over in my mind that night. It would take me ages to fall asleep and in the morning I’d often wake up right into the replay of the mistake and continue to give myself a hard time.

Incredibly unhelpful! And not conducive to a positive self-esteem.

Of course, if I didn’t ever review my play then I would most likely not learn, but what I did was overkill.

Do you relate to this relentless replaying of a mistake?

When it comes to firing up self-leadership the learning is essential and so is letting go. It’s important to remember that everyone messes up, even those who seem to be perfect 😉

If we never make a mistake when do we learn to recover, mend, bounce back?

In a leadership workshop recently this topic came up. A few managers mentioned how they give themselves a really tough time when they make a mistake and that it was difficult to let it go. I shared this as a strategy to learn and let go:

  1. Learn to catch yourself early: identify as early as possible when you start spiraling into being hard on self or being on repeat.
  2. Remind yourself that it was a mistake: it was not done intentionally nor with malice, and that everyone makes mistakes.
  3. Ensure that you have taken action to rectify the situation as best you can up to this point.
  4. Ask yourself: what has this taught me?
  5. Take a deep breath and let it go.

Don’t miss the opportunities to learn but also don’t be hard on yourself. If you simply stay stuck in giving yourself a hard time you hinder your self-leadership. As Lucille Ball said,


Is there a mistake you can take the lesson from and then really let it go?