How to Gracefully Bounce Back From a Public Mistake

The biggest takeaway from the 2017 Oscars wasn't the fabulous fashion or the moving speeches; it was the awful best picture gaffe. The flub was mostly taken in stride, and in the end we learned that fault lied with PricewaterhouseCooper. We've all been there because all make mistakes on the reg -- when you find yourself in a situation like this, the way that you handle the fallout may determine how people feel about you during the aftermath. Is there a way to mitigate the damage?

Cop to it

If you find yourself in a real public snafu, or any snafu really, the best bet is to take responsibility for your actions. Even if you're not the one at fault, everyone will remember the person who took control of the situation and started working towards a solution. After all, the truth always comes out in the end. If someone else was at fault, time will tell. You don't have to waste time being petty or pointing fingers. Even when you feel like you're exonerating yourself, it may come across as passing blame and being self-focused— Warren Beatty, we're looking at you here.

Give yourself a pass

Everybody makes mistakes; don't beat yourself up for being human. If you want other people to forgive you, you need to forgive yourself— even though that can be the hardest thing to do.

If you find it particularly hard to forgive yourself, the first step may be to forgive others when they make mistakes. Then, when it's your turn for a little forgiveness, it feels like you've just leveled the playing field.

Ask for help if you need it

Asking for help can be another way of taking accountability. When you're the one who has goofed, you can feel pressured to fix it all on your own. What the situation usually calls for is having the problem fixed quickly, that means taking it to the experts— whoever that is for the task at hand — and asking them for help. If it feels like too big of an ask for one person, spread the love. After all, many hands make for light work, and when you let others be a part of the solution, they're more likely to forget the problem.