It happens. We make mistakes or miss the mark sometimes. Whatever the case, when things go wrong, there is only one reasonable way to proceed: to make them right – or at least, do our best to make them right. Sadly, this is really not that easy because making things right is often difficult. Our fight or flight response sometimes gets in the way. So to make things right, consider the following:

  1. Take 100% Responsibility. Taking responsibility is a personal ownership process and has nothing to do with what others would prefer, want, or ask that we take responsibility for. At the same time, taking responsibility demands that we do take ownership of what we did do. One of the most difficult positions to be in is when there is dissonance between our internal and external positions, in other words, when we know we actually did something and we say we didn’t do it.

  2. Communicate the issue. Advise everyone that should know in an appropriate and reasonable manner, and as soon as possible. Taking a few days before sharing or skipping a few meetings without adequate disclosure communicates lack of honesty and integrity, which would only complicate things more than they already are. Also, as we communicate the issue with the appropriate individuals, it is very important to offer a clear plan of action on how to fix the situation.

  3. Address the issue. So far you have shared what happened, and your plan to make it right. Now, let’s get to it! It is very important to follow what you said you would do to fix the situation. Also, follow up if you have any questions, or if the situation changes in any way. Our greatest mistake at this point is to keep distant or wanting to fix things on our own. Stakeholders have already invested their time into the situation and they would generally prefer to keep in close communication rather than not.

  4. Learn and move on. Sometimes when things go wrong, our life situation ends up changing as a result. From moving to another department to even being let go. Learning and moving on is a key element of this process regardless of the final outcome. Dwelling in the past is a waste of time. There is absolutely nothing we can do to change what happened, and we have already done what we needed to do to address the issue. Wallowing in misfortune, guilt and discontent has no purpose and drains our energy completely.

  5. Expand and reconnect with greatness. What happened has already happened. That’s it. At this point, you have taken responsibility, communicated the issue, addressed the issue, learned from the issue and you have moved on. There is no reason why you would not be able to expand and reconnect with greatness again, no matter what the situation was. In this way, we own our past, we acknowledge what happened, we grow from it, and we reconnect with our purpose. As we do this, the new situation we are in, will necessarily present interesting and wonderful adventures accompanied by growth and opportunity.



Dr. Pedro Cortina is CEO & Managing Partner at the Innerland Institute  He is an author, speaker, counselor, facilitator, trainer, transformation specialist and leadership consultant. He is the author of Curflexion: Living the Infinite Space of Being, a guide for moving away from our underlying human experience of separation and unfulfillment. Curflexion is sold through