How to Recover From a Mistake Using G.R.O.W.T.H.™

Written by Dr. Eric Perry, PhD

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” ~Johnny Cash

Mr. Cash was a smart man who brilliantly summed up how we should treat our mistakes. We must acknowledge that making mistakes is ubiquitous and part of being alive. In our lifetime we will have the opportunity to make many mistakes, some small and others large. Each mistake is an opportunity to receive the gift of growth. How we handle our mistakes is indicative of how we feel about ourselves. We need to allow ourselves to make mistakes without letting our internal voice tell us that we are stupid, useless or any other negative word. Make the inner negative voice insignificant by not acknowledging it. Don’t give negativity life by feeding it energy. So what should we do when we trip and make a misstep?

Here are 6 steps to get over a mistake. I came up with the acronym G.R.O.W.T.H. to remind you that mistakes are part of life’s lesson plan and the fertilizer to your personal growth.

1. Gather your thoughts
Once you realize you have made a mistake, take a moment to breathe. Acknowledge that a mistake has been made. Some mistakes are small and will only affect you. Unfortunately, other mistakes can be big and will have more serious consequences. There may be many thoughts and feelings that run through your head which make it difficult to stay calm. It is important that we do not resist what we are feeling. If we criticize and judge our feelings we will only create an internal conflict for ourselves. Be present and know that it is ok to feel bad about making a mistake.

2. Reflect
Once the initial shock has abated, take time and reflect on what has happened. Don’t panic. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to lessen the extent of the damage. By being proactive and keeping your attention on solving the problem you will move away from the amygdala and into the logic driven frontal lobe of the brain.

3. Own your mistake
Do not try to hide the fact that you have made a mistake. Hiding a mistake will only make matters worse. Apologize to the people you have let down and if possible take action to rectify the mistake. Part of apologizing is acknowledging with humility that you have made an error. One of the most difficult things to accept is that we may not be able to fix our mistake.

4. Wisdom
Once the dust has settled, write what you have learned from the mistake. It is important that we learn and grow from the errors we make. Mistakes evoke many emotions, some minor and humiliating and others heartbreaking. We must learn to accept that mistakes are lessons that life is handing to us.

5. Talk
If we are having a disproportionate reaction to a mistake it is important to talk to someone and figure out what negative core beliefs are surfacing as a result of our mistake. For example, say we leave the milk out and it spoils. We may then proceed to verbally bash ourselves by saying things such as “I am so stupid!” or “I can’t do anything right!” It is important to recognize when there may be more going on than just spoiled milk.

6. Heal
Let it go. We must remember not to ruminate and engage in circular thinking. It is important not to dwell on what happened and what we could have done differently. Patch up your wounded ego and move forward. Remember your mistake, but do not let it consume you.

Remember, the next time you make a mistake, you are in good company. An inherent part of being human is imperfection. We all make mistakes. Growth can’t happen in the comfort zone! Good luck!

The thoughts expressed in this blog post are my own and are not meant to create a professional relationship with the reader. This blog does not replace or substitute the help of a medical professional. Please note, I am unable to answer your specific questions as I am not fully aware of all of the circumstances.

Dr. Perry

Copy of Dr. Eric Perry

“I help ambitious and high achieving individuals manifest a life of success and fulfillment in order to achieve the life they truly desire.”

Dr. Eric Perry |

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78 responses to How to Recover From a Mistake Using G.R.O.W.T.H.™

  1. Tay_Breezy says:

    I love it. Such an intelligent way of dealing. In most cases fear or pride hinder us from moving past a mistake. This step by step can definitely aid in getting over the mistake and ensuring it doesn’t reoccur. Lovely!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Vivian Zems says:

    There’s nothing like a mistake to focus the mind. As I get older- I’m able to look at my mistakes quite dispassionately and home in on a solution asap! Great post😊

    Liked by 7 people

  3. You just expanded a concept in my life and I will never forget you for this .Thank you .For the love of the universe ;Grow and continue to enlighten .Thank you .

    Liked by 4 people

  4. ReVitellect says:

    Thanks for the tips. Agreed. Nice approach. G.R.O.W.T.H. Makes it easy to remember 😀 Accept that it happened, learn from it, and grow from it. And yeah, sometimes we engage in unnecessary negative behaviour such as insulting ourselves disproportionately. If we or someone else catches us doing it, then there may be a bigger problem there that needs to be addressed. Thanks for this article. Helpful 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Lydia Reyes says:

    “We need to allow ourselves to make mistakes without letting our internal voice tell us that we are stupid, useless or any other negative word.” This is good!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Halle Borchers says:

    Number 3 is so right! Learning to own a mistake is taking your maturity to a new level. It’s honestly hard to though. I know for a fact I have made some mistakes and have just tried to sweep them under the rug instead of facing them. It’s something we all have done. But it’s a great thing to learn to face them head on!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. How relevant to my past few months. I like the proactive logic tactic instead of allowing the thoughts to become emotive in the hypocampus or amygdala. I will certainly repost!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Carla Laporte says:

    Great advice! I’m often hard on myself when I make mistakes. I can forgive others much easier than myself. Thanks for these great tips to use!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Reblogged this on happybella and commented:
    Let it go. We must remember not to ruminate and engage in circular thinking. It is important not to dwell on what happened and what we could have done differently. Patch up your wounded ego and move forward. Remember your mistake, but do not let it consume you.

    I needed this! I’ve been having a hard time recovering from my previous mistakes and reading this gave me a clearer perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Scott Townsend says:

    Well said. Thank you for that helpful advice. Speaking as one who has a tendency to ruminate on my mistakes long after they’ve been made, this is helpful.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Awesome info as usual. Love the part about owning up to our mistakes and learning from them. If only society would revert to taking responsibility and promoting mistakes as learning opportunities, I think we would all be in a better place.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. submerge says:

    I often find I read things just at the right time and this is one of those instances. I’m using that Johnny Cash quote as my mantra this week!
    I made a neglectful mistake last week and was nasty and sarcastic to my wife when she pointed it out. I felt cornered and her comment added to the upset I’d been feeling at work for the last week. But I know that accepting that I was wrong was what I should have done. It would have made it easier to reflect on how to be more mindful of those around me in future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dr. Perry says:

      Hi Jesse, I am happy this was helpful. I appreciate the positive feedback. Thank you!✨

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I really liked this one! The GROWTH acronym is perfect for learning to grow from our mistakes. I think it aptly synthesizes the core aspects of acknowledging, accepting, remedying, and learning from the mistakes we make, big or small. Thank you for posting this!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Goff James says:

    Thanks for another great post – wise words, wise thoughts, wise actions. Making mistakes is life’s way of developing wisdom. Making mistakes provides an essential grounding to personal understanding and development. Have a great day. Happy Blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

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