You messed up…
- You missed the conference call because you did not convert the time correctly.
- You left the files for the meeting at home.
- You did not call the client when you promised.
If you are playing a big game professionally, you will not get it right 100% of the time. When you push your limits you will inevitably hit some speed bumps along the way. This is true for everyone.
And, as an Adult with ADHD, you may have particular challenges as highlighted in my article, ADHD and Doing It Your Own Way.
But what do you do when you make a mistake? How do you move forward?
Interpreting Your Mistakes
Do you view each mistake as a sign that you are a screw–up? Perhaps, you see each mistake as an affirmation of your inability to perform well in any realm. And, after each misstep, you proclaim some variation of, “I can’t do anything right.” Unfortunately, this is too common a perspective for many adults with ADHD.
If this is the perspective you hold, you are likely limited in your capacity to see that you really do have the ability to do things differently.
What if you viewed each mistake as a lesson? When you make the inevitable mistake, you then:
- acknowledge your mistake.
- see what led to your misstep.
- makes changes so you can potentially avoid repeating the mistake.
Yes, you missed the conference call because you did not convert the time correctly.
What Got in The Way?
You could stop there and say, “oh well, stuff happens.” If you did that, chances are you may repeat the mistake again, reinforcing your perspective that you really can’t change.
And, if you are prone to black and white thinking (typical for adults with ADHD), you may see only two options when you hit a perceived barrier.
- go full speed ahead and just try harder
- give up
Going full speed ahead, when how you are operating is not working, will likely land you in more trouble. While giving up will, uhmm, get you nowhere. But you knew that.
The alternative is to, first, acknowledge you made a mistake and then ask yourself: “What got in the way?”
In the example of not converting the time correctly, there are likely several contributing factors. Maybe you did not:
- confirm the time of the meeting.
- use the right tool for checking the time zone.
- put the meeting in your calendar and set an alarm.
- check and double check the time the day before the meeting.
What Can I Do Differently Next Time?
Rather than defining yourself by your mistakes or, alternatively, trying to ignore them, you can figure out what to do differently in order to minimize the chances of repeating the same mistakes.
So, next time…
- Email Bob, confirming that the meeting is 10:00 am EST.
- Use an application, like worldtime buddy to check the time, rather than do it in your head.
- Put the meeting in your calendar and double check the time.
- Set an alarm to remind you of the meeting.
The Same Mistake!?!
In spite of your best efforts, you may still make a similar mistake down the road. But at least you have done whatever is in your control to try to prevent it from happening.
So, if it happens again, you can extend your apologies and offer to make it right. And feel good about how you conducted yourself!