How to Overcome a Bad Experience So it Makes You Stronger

Feb 10, 2020

I had a bad experience running my first live event 12 years ago. It was so embarrassing for me that I did not run another live event. I just said no, I don’t do live events.

Until this year!

I finally realized I was letting that situation hold me back from putting myself out there. The incident that happened made me feel I wasn’t capable, and I didn’t enjoy that event because of one experience. 

That one little incident shaped my opinion about running and hosting events. It took 12 years before I realized I had to change my perspective. The event 12 years ago went really well for everyone else involved, but because of an embarrassing situation, I was the only one affected by it in a negative way. 

I was also incredibly stressed at that event 12 years ago because I was doing everything. Now I know what to do so everything runs smoothly for me and everyone else.

Women in my program have said they want to get together. They wanted to meet and interact face to face with other people in the PR business. And now I’m able to hold an event for them. 

Let A Bad Experience Build Your Resilience 

There are several other areas in your business where you may have to take steps to be resilient in your business. 

Another example of a bad experience is when I had a team member make a mistake. It was huge and really mortifying.

But, in that moment, I had to question myself and what would I do as the leader. How do I handle that situation?  

How would you handle a huge mistake your team member made?

I wasn’t upset about the mistake, because it was just a mistake. It wasn’t an indication of her quality of work or her professionalism. It’s the first time in years she had made a mistake like this. It was a complete accident.

Cultivate Compassion

The first thing to do is make sure your team member knows that you’re aware of the mistake and that it could happen to anyone. 

Make sure your team member knows that you have her back. As a true leader, you need to cultivate compassion and give your team the benefit of the doubt. You need to stand behind your team. 

Cultivating compassion as a true leader when mistakes happen and having your team's back is how you become resilient. You become adaptable to situations that happen beyond your control. 

As a leader, you can look at the situation as an opportunity to learn and not look at it as a problem. Problems are opportunities. 

Resilient people have confidence and are competent because they have strategies for coping with stressful situations. 

Related: Top Mistakes PR Agency Owners Make That Are Costing Them Time, Revenue, (And Their Sanity)

Take Ownership Of Mistakes

Take ownership of mistakes and responsibility for any incidents that might happen. You are the owner of the agency and in charge of all the things your team does, good or bad. 

For me, my team is amazing. And I know stuff happens! Unless you have a team member who is lying and maybe not doing a great job, you should always be supportive of your team. 

My team feels supported. I highlight all of their wins and give them credit for what they've done and accomplished for our clients. 

If your team feels supported, they will do their best work and put in the extra effort. 

If you don't acknowledge people and you blame them for their mistakes or give them a hard time about mistakes, you’re not fostering a warm environment. You're not fostering a relationship where people want to work their hardest for you and give you their best effort.

You’re creating a recipe for burnout. People will be there for a year, and the entire time they'll have one foot out the door.

Related: Want to Be a Great Boss? Do These 7 Things Every Day

Challenges Are Good

One thing I realized is that every challenge or bad experience is a way for me to see how I can be better at something. Or it can bring awareness of what I enjoy doing or something I don’t feel I’m great at doing. 

For example, running live events for clients really isn’t for me. But if I had to do one I would figure out all the pieces that weren’t in my zone of genius and hire experts. Then we could focus on doing the things we’re great at. 

But 12 years ago I took everything on by myself. And it was too stressful! But it was a great learning experience. Now I feel more confident and competent.

Learning how to handle a bad experience is what will make you stronger. It builds your confidence and makes you more competent. Every problem offers a great learning opportunity. Don’t do what I did and take 12 years to get over an embarrassing situation!