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4 Phrases that Convert Mistakes Into Long Term Success

Mistakes are a part of life. Recovering from them can be one of the biggest challenges in life. These 4 rarely used phrases help you overcome your mistakes to live a successful life.



Photo courtesy of Flickr user plindberg

We all make mistakes. We’re human. Unfortunately, for most people, their response to a mistake made is where things go from bad to worse. Typical responses to mistakes include blowing up, covering up, or giving up. Our fears of how other people will react to our mistakes drive us to making irrational decisions leading to delayed recovery, broken trust, and unnecessary suffering in silence. It doesn’t have to be this traumatic.

With a little courage and a willingness to deal with short term discomfort, you can quickly transform many mistakes into new opportunities for success. Instead of blowing up, covering up, or giving up, you simply need to confess up.

Here are 4 phrases that, when said with authenticity, will dramatically shorten your recovery time from a mistake:


Admission can be a gut wrenching experience, and as a result, most people avoid these 4 words. Do you want to significantly reduce the trauma and drama that can be associated with a mistake? Then simply state the fact. Use of this phrase is extremely powerful because people will respect you for your admission. And it often leads to a shorter recovery period and a willingness to forgive you.


If admitting a mistake is the first step in the recovery process, demonstrating authentic remorse is the critical next step. People rarely say “I’m sorry” because they let their pride and ego get in the way. Why set aside your pride and ego and use this phrase? One word – trust. When mistakes are made, trust is reduced and sometimes destroyed. It’s a known fact – people want to see authentic remorse before they’re willing to forgive and trust again. Say it and mean it, and you stand a greater chance of converting the mistake into an opportunity for future success. Don’t say it, and the opposite is true.


Now it’s time to seek forgiveness. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is to make the offer. Why should you use this statement? Most people run away from responsibility after making a mistake. This phrase allows you to confront the issue head on while simultaneously opening up a dialogue focused on potential solutions. It’s also a great way to reduce tension and refocus the discussion on facts as opposed to emotions. Once authentically stated and accepted, the conversation can easily transition to the next step.


You’ve admitted the mistake, demonstrated genuine remorse, and offered to fix things. The last step is to negotiate an agreement on what you will do to recover. Once an agreement is made, restate the agreement in the form of a promise. Why say it this way? A promise is the highest form of commitment, and following through on a commitment is the fastest way to build trust. Mistakes are trust busters. Commitments are trust builders. It’s an incredibly effective way to bring closure to the conversation where all involved are able to retain their dignity while focusing their attention on the future and not the past.

Making mistakes is a fact of life. Responding to them is a necessity of life. Repeating them is unacceptable in life. And accepting responsibility for them is a sign of a successful life lived.

What other strategies have you used to overcome mistakes made? Share your successes in the comments below, and know that your contributions are sincerely appreciated.

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