Five Ways to Bounce Back When You Drop the Ball!

No matter how far life pushes you down, no matter how much you hurt, you can always bounce back.” — Sheryl Swoopes, American professional basketball player.

Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.“– George F. Patton, U.S. Army general during World Wars I and II.

Five Ways to Bounce Back When You Drop the Ball! by Laura StackYou’ve never made a single mistake in your entire career—right?

As much as we hate to admit it, we’re only human, and perfection lies only in the realm of the Divine. We are high-performing individuals, certainly, but still just flesh and bone, and occasionally we drop the ball. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone, since we often juggle five or ten of them at once.

Fortunately, balls tend to bounce; so when you drop a ball and it bounces back at you, grab it up and rebound yourself. Use these five tips to help you get everything back in play.



Five Ways to Bounce Back When You Drop the Ball!  by Laura Stack - Stop and Think

Stop and think. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, don’t freak out. Step away for a while to ponder the situation and decide what to do about it. Take a deep breath and calm yourself. Don’t let emotion overwhelm you or rule your actions, or you might follow up your first mistake with another, possibly worse one.

Face the music. Don’t try to make excuses or otherwise duck responsibility for your blunder, even if owning up threatens your job. If you were indeed at fault, apologize to all those affected by your mistake, whatever your level of error—whether you just forgot about a meeting or accidentally sank an important account. Do so sincerely, because copping an attitude or feigning regret just generates more ill will. On the other hand, don’t over-apologize and act weak. It helps no one and irritates most people.

Try to compensate. If your slip-up was especially severe, sit down and brainstorm some ideas that might help you correct or offset the error. Then present them to your supervisor in a personal meeting. Even if nothing proves practical or acceptable, at least others will understand you regret your mistake and genuinely want to make amends. Be willing to accept reasonable disciplinary action as well. All this just might save your job, especially if you otherwise have an exemplary record.

Look for the bright side. You’ve heard the homilies: “Every cloud has its silver lining.” “It’s an ill wind that blows no good.” Since so many old sayings apply to such occasions, people have obviously been screwing up big-time for centuries. But this long experience also proves that most negative events usually have some positive effect. At the very least, you’ll know how to avoid the mistake in the future. And you’ll gain a little humility in the process.

Forgive yourself. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Yes, you made a mistake. But don’t sit there brooding, damaging your personal productivity even further. Get over it and rebound! Once you’ve repaired your error and learned your lesson, move on confidently to your next adventure.

To Err is Human

We all foul up sometimes; human nature makes it inevitable. While you shouldn’t casually shrug off your workplace goofs, don’t let them ruin your life either. Self-recrimination gets you nowhere. Even if you’ve done something spectacularly bad, even if you suspect (or know) you’ve set back your career, follow the advice of the old High Hopes ant chant: pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!



  1. LE in Austin says:

    Love it! Well thought out

  2. Laura,
    I can always count on you for simple-to-execute solutions to everyday challenges.
    Thank you.


  1. […] method has a lock on perfection; that’s the province of the Divine. As a mere human, you will make mistakes occasionally, and some may prove […]