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4 Steps to Rebound Well After a Mistake

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

How do you typically react when you make a mistake?

What we do after a mistake can take us down a rabbit hole of negativity.

Or not.

Let me share a strategy I am using right now, straight out of the Positive Intelligence* playbook and on the heels of my own mistake, with the hope that it will serve you.

Because what doesn’t serve us is making ourselves miserable over mistakes.


4 Steps to Rebounding WELL:

Step 1:

Acknowledge the mistake quickly and, if time is of the essence, correct it to the best of your ability. Sometimes this is scary, but rip off that band-aid and do your best.

Step 2:

Notice the “Judge” in the mix, making you and the situation out to be "bad." This reactive saboteur is a patterned part of you that runs on fear and operates in the fight or flight part of your brain. It's afraid you will make more mistakes if you don't get properly chastised for the one you just made. Of course, this strategy typically backfires (thus, it's called a "saboteur").

Step 3:

Interrupt the negative Judge pattern by doing "PQ reps." Done consistently over time, this builds your brain's capacity to move its attention and focus out of negativity, and into a calmer, more neutral zone. Watch this 2-minute video to learn what a PQ rep is and how to do my favorite one.

Step 4:

Convert the situation. Ask: “How can I turn this situation into a gift or opportunity?” This is adopting what's called the Sage Perspective in the language of Positive Intelligence. The idea is that any situation or circumstance can be converted into an immediate or eventual gift or opportunity.

A gift or opportunity could be anything from learning something new, deepening a desired quality, or creating something that adds meaning for yourself or others. In my case, I am using my mistake to gift you with this 4-Step Rebound Strategy and a PQ Rep How-To video.

I've also used this situation to gain a few new technical skills. Sure, I still have a lot of room to grow in that space, but I'll save that for my next mistake!

Make YOUR next mistake one you grow from.


* Positive Intelligence, also called PQ or mental fitness, is our capacity to face challenging life situations with a positive mindset more often than with a negative mindset. The more challenging the situation, the more mental fitness we need to be able to respond well. Wendy facilitates the 7-Week Positive Intelligence program that can help fast-track your PQ abilities, resulting in greater peace of mind, healthier relationships (with yourself and others) and peak performance.


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