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16th August 2022

How to: Deal with messing up

1. TAKE STOCK AND RECOGNISE THE SITUATION

The moment we realise something’s not worked out can be crushing. You might feel like the world has slowed down, or perhaps like everything is moving too fast and outside of your control.

Whatever you feel, taking a deep breath and giving yourself time to process what’s happened is never a bad thing - and it can give you the headspace to think about what your next step is.

Here’s how some of you lot did it:

  • I lost us a job at work. It was pretty bad, but I faced up to it and learned what not to do.

    Shared from Instagram
  • Got cheated on by my husband. I divorced and got started at the gym 💪

    Shared from Instagram
  • Didn’t mess up but a girl dumped me by text recently. Wished her the best.

    Shared from Instagram
2. MAKE A PLAN FOR WHAT TO DO NEXT

We’ve all heard the cheesy stuff - failure isn’t failure it’s growth etc etc. We could write this advice in Helvetica and post it to Instagram, but the truth is, when you feel like you’ve failed all that inspirational stuff can feel the opposite of helpful.


Instead, making a plan can be a practical way to get past your difficult feelings. It could be a plan for the next hour, day or week, or it could be a more long term plan. There’s loads out there about resilience - but we think Chumbawamba said it best with I get knocked down, but I get up again, You are never gonna keep me down.’ Because sometimes you’ve just got to go again.

Here’s how some of you lot did it:

  • I failed 2 of my 4 AS level exams. So I cried, dropped those subjects and did an extra one the next year.

    Shared from Instagram
  • Flopped A Levels and got rejected from the course I wanted. Now I have two degrees and a dream job.

    Shared from Instagram
  • Realised I never actually wanted the jobs i applied for. Became a teacher and never looked back

    Shared from Instagram
3. TALK ABOUT IT

Yup, you guessed it. We’re always gonna tell you to talk about it. Failed driving test or relationship break down, whatever’s got you in a spin, chatting to someone you trust is a sure fire way to get it off your chest and move forward. Don’t forget, our helpline is open from 5pm to midnight if you’re struggling to find a way forward.

Here’s how some of you lot did it.

  • My girlfriend broke up with me and it felt like my life crumbled. My family got me through.

    Shared from Instagram
  • A pitch at work nosedived. Beers with my colleagues afterwards put things into perspective and took some of the pressure off.

    Shared from Instagram
4. IF YOU REALLY WANT IT, THEN KEEP AT IT. MAYBE CHANGE YOUR TACT.

Sounds like something your mum’d say. But it’s pretty solid advice. If you really want something - and it’s realistic that you can achieve it (you’re probably not gonna be the next Haaland if your only exercise is walking the dog), keep at it. There’s more than one route to most things you want to achieve - it might mean taking on more qualifications, finding a new job or doing a workaround. Sometimes, it just takes backing yourself.

Here’s how some of you lot did it:

  • Got less than a C in all my A levels, took a foundation year and now work at Microsoft

    Shared from Instagram
  • Dropped a yoghurt down myself on the way to an interview. Got the job!

    Shared from Instagram
  • Did my driving test 5 times. Just gotta keep at it. And check your mirrors

    Shared from Instagram
5. CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLES

There’s some stuff you can’t do much about. Once you’re out of an interview, written an exam script or secured the handbrake after your driving test, it’s out of your hands. And while that can be scary to think about, it can also be freeing. No amount of hand wringing or worrying can change the outcome of something like that. So do your best and then put it to bed. Whatever will be, will be.

Here’s how some of you lot did it:

  • Went on my first solo trip recently - booked and paid for ten days, only stayed for two due to anxiety. Will try again soon, somewhere closer to home and for less time.

    Shared from Instagram
  • Ended up in hospital for my mental health across year 2 of my degree. Took meds, got better, repeated the year.

    Shared from Instagram
6. KNOW WHEN TO SAY SORRY OR MOVE ON

It might not always be ‘sorry’ that needs to be said, but the key to this step is recognising that something’s gone wrong and moving past it. It might not solve the situation, and there might be extra stuff you need to do to move forward, but recognising it is the first step in getting back on track.

Here’s how some of you lot did it:

  • Killed a friend’s fish… a sincere apology goes a long way.

    Shared from Instagram
  • I said sorry and let it go

    Shared from Instagram

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