How to Bounce Back From Major Mistakes

Question: What are your best tips for recovering from major mistakes?

Take a 'Lesson Learned' Approach

"Do not stick your head in the sand when you make a mistake in business. Develop a post mortem or 'Lessons Learned' document to reflect on what you did, what went wrong and why. Solicit reputable feedback from business associates and mentors. Understanding the key takeaways from a mistake can prevent continued failure in a specific area of your business. "

- Erica Nicole | Founder and CEO, YFS Magzine
Acknowledge Them, Learn from Them and Move On ... Quickly

"The worst thing you can do when you make a mistake is to cover it up. This is followed closely by dwelling on it forever. As soon as you make a mistake acknowledge it to whomever you need (including yourself), identify the lessons you've learned from it, and then forgive yourself and let it go. The faster you go through this process, the more you'll find mistakes can help you."

Take 5 Minutes

"Take five minutes and let yourself be sad, ashamed, embarrassed, destroyed. Then move on. Remember that failure is just one step on the way to success."


Ask, 'What Can I Do?'

"If there's a viable fix for your mistake, do it without hesitation. If not, move on. Otherwise you risk wasting time, energy and effort worrying about something you have no control over."

- Danny Wong | Co-Founder, Advisor and Lead Evangelist, Blank Label
Smile and Don't Do It Again

"Mistakes should be expected and welcomed. The best entrepreneurs are the ones that know how to bounce back as quickly as possible. Accept the mistake, engrain it in your mind forever and continue moving forward ... until the next major mistake. "

- Logan Lenz | Founder / President, Endagon

Keep a Failure File and a Success File

"I have a failure file where I document all of my failures -- why they happened and what I can learn from them. This helps identify patterns. I also have a success folder with projects I'm most proud of. I believe we should cultivate our mistakes instead of avoiding them, that is how we learn from them."

- Vanessa Van Edwards | Behavioral Investigator, Science of People

Don't Be Defensive

"If a customer calls and points out a flaw in one of our products or shares a problem about a recent interaction with our company, I listen carefully and think of it is as an opportunity to make something better rather than an indictment of who we are. Admitting that my company can improve shows customers we are human and proactive, and allows my employees to react with the same confidence. "

Stay Composed

"Composure in my business is everything. In the restaurant industry chances are slim that a customer will know of every mistake made. But your composure, if not managed correctly, can reveal your mistakes to the public eye, versus remaining hidden and fixed behind the scenes."

Persistence and Determination

"Major mistakes are major lessons. Change your perspective and realize how much better off you are now that you have made the mistake and overcome its consequences. "

- Lucas Sommer | Founder CEO, Audimated

Review Major Mistakes with Mentors

"It's hard to learn while in crisis mode, but we have to address mistakes in the moment. Take the time to talk through the situation, especially with someone with a little more experience handling such things. Reviewing things with a mentor can be the best way to turn a mistake into a learning experience."

- Thursday Bram | Content Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

About YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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