Me? Blow it?

The truth is, we all blow it.  As leaders, team members, staff, parents, adult kids, neighbors, you name it; it’s human nature to blow it from time to time.  And, here’s the paradox about blowing it, if you handle the moments after you realize what you’ve done well, you can actually build greater trust, loyalty, credibility and intimacy despite having blown it.  So, it’s important that you learn how to handle “blow it” moments thoughtfully and with clarity so that the people who matter to you remember you at your best and trust that you learn from your mistakes.

There are five key steps to responding effectively when you blow it:

  1. When you are told you blew it or you notice you blew it, PAUSE.
    • Don’t get reactive; instead consider how to move forward in a way that is in alignment with your vision for yourself.
    • Don’t get defensive or self-denigrating – just pause.
  2. Get curious about what was going on inside of you and with the situation that brought you to this moment.
    • Did you believe you were doing the right thing only to discover you’d done something wrong or hurt someone?
    • Did you know you were not being responsible where you needed to be and therefore likely to blow it?
    • Were you hoping you could sneak something past someone?
  3. Get curious about your impact on others and on the situation.
    • Did you blow it but no one has noticed yet?
    • Did you hurt, offend or leave someone feeling betrayed?
    • Did you create a sense of concern in others about who you are and how you will handle things going forward?
  4. Decide what to do to acknowledge that you blew it, incorporate your best understanding of what was going on for you, the impact it had on others, and only then take action to make it right.
    • Think about the best way to communicate your awareness of blowing it and your willingness to look at your behavior and its impact.
    • Think about the key people who need to be in the conversation.
    • Think about how you are at your best when responding to something you did that is problematic.
  5. Consider how to mitigate the chance of this happening again in the future.
    • Do you need to ask for feedback sooner?
    • Can you decide to change behavior and feel confident you will?
    • Do you need to make changes to your environment, to the relationship or to the system?

    Paradoxically, blowing it can be a very positive game-changer in your life, if you pause, get curious about you and about your impact, assess how to respond, take action once you are clear and you reflect on the lessons inherent in the experience.