Do a post-mortem
Post-mortem translates to “after death” and doctors use it to refer to the review done following a patient death to spot any errors. You’re still breathing, but you’ll have trouble moving on from a mistake unless you conduct your own post-mortem.
Analyze the situation and figure out what went wrong. For an outside perspective, you may want to enlist friends and loved ones. Recently, a client of mine was supposedly fired for frequently coming in 10 minutes late. The thing was, he hadn’t been late since his boss warned him about it three months earlier. So lateness wasn’t really the reason. By speaking with coworkers, colleagues, and a coach (me), he was able to figure out what led to the firing and deal with the real issues.
Grieve the loss intentionally
If this was a significant screw up, give yourself space and time to think about it, to feel the emotions that go with a loss of this magnitude. Shame, disappointment, embarrassment. Be as compassionate as you can—treat yourself the way you would a friend. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. Go gentle on you.
Set a deadline
After you’ve grieved the loss, you come to a point where it’s time to reengage. Depending on the nature of the mistake, it may be a matter of hours or it could take a few weeks.
After you grieve, make a commitment to move on. Set the deadline based on your needs. And when that time comes, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to it. The closure will help you reengage and reemerge in the world again. And if you’ve had a thorough post-mortem, then you’re walking back into the challenge knowing what you did wrong and what you’ll do differently next time.