Everyone experiences the faux pas, the wrong turn, the act that was not the wisest course of action, or said words that were not wisely chosen. A missed opportunity is a temporary setback. It is how we deal with the aftermath of the mistake that sets the parameters of the situation and creates our reputation. Stumbling and falling is no excuse to stay down.


As the sage Confucius said, “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” So how do you overcome a missed opportunity? Here are some simple steps that will have you climbing back to your goal with renewed confidence.


Take the Time to Appraise the Situation Properly

Time gives the gift of perspective. This is especially true when evaluating a mistake. Time helps one to have emotional distance and allows room for rumination. So whether you need to work it out at the gym, talk it over with a friend, or sleep on it, give the matter the time, attention, and thought that it deserves. Learning from your mistake is the best way to overcome a missed opportunity.



Humbly and authentically admit to the mistake. Do this as soon as possible. Do not make light of the error and do not make excuses. Do not play the victim card. Take ownership of your actions, and if appropriate discuss what you have learned. Your knowledge of the situation will guide you in the decision of whether to offer the apology one-on-one or loud and clear for the public to hear.


Make it Right

After analyzing the problem and issuing either a private or public apology, the next step in turning a mistake into an opportunity for growth is to implement a plan of action. Whether through omission or commission, if your mistake affected others, then a concerted effort to address those problems will help you turn a misstep into a way forward.


Incorporate the Lesson and Then Move On

Learning from a mistake is the surest way not to repeat it. Personal and professional growth, a new vision, renewed vigor, and a reputation for responsibility and accountability can be your rewards for taking the proper steps to correct a misstep. The steps of assessment, honesty, apology, and action can transform a missed opportunity into an opportunity for growth and positive change.