Remember the beginning of Mighty Ducks when kid Gordon Bombay misses on the triple deke? We’ve all hit the bar in our lives and it feels like shit. When people depend on you, letting them down is basically the worst thing that can happen. Sometimes, things like this haunt us forever, even if they shouldn’t.
Winning is ingrained into our society. “If you ain’t first, you’re last,” “History is written by the victors” and “It’s not worth playing if you can’t win” are common phrases we’ve all heard. No one ever wants to let others down, but it is a fact of life. There are those who win and those who lose. A skill that I’ve learned the hard way is mitigating the losses. By this, I mean if there is a way to rectify the situation, do it, learn from the mistake and apologize if you fucked up.
It seems the smallest goofs eat at me while other, larger boners never bug me. For example, the other day when setting up a meeting, I set the time of our 12:00 p.m. meeting as “a.m.” so that the meeting lasted over a day. I got three emails within a few minutes about it. This wouldn’t be an issue if they weren’t all Cc’d on the email. A relatively minor thing gets blown out of proportion. Sometimes I feel like people do this kind of shit just to spin tires. The worst part is I let it rattle me when, in the grand scheme of things, the meeting is a month away. It was an easy fix, and everyone knew what I meant anyway.
I rarely fuck up at work. It’s not that I am a standout employee, it’s that everyone else here is so far behind in technology that I could tell them, “I’m waiting for the data” and they would have no idea. I’m a work-to-live kind of guy so honestly, while messing up at work sucks, the reason it bugs me so much is I feel like I let myself down. The times I let myself down, though, are way easier to get over than letting down other people.
I’m a man of my word. Quite honestly, one of my biggest flaws is having a hard time telling people “No.” More than anything in my life, being a “Yes” person has led to more problems than all others combined. Oftentimes, being a “Yes” person has got me stuck in situations I’d rather not be in. You see, when people know you’re good for your word, you get more responsibilities, expectations and being “voluntold;” you continuously set your bar higher and higher until the weight crushes and you end up with the worst-case scenario: letting people down.
What sticks with me is when other people have colossal fuck ups and they seem to be able to brush it off like nothing happened. For example, I had to cover a class as a grad student because the professor overslept. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it wasn’t the students’ final presentations. Maybe it’s because he is old as sin and is tenured or just genuinely has glaciers in his veins, but I think it’d be hard to bounce back from that. I worked with him to remedy the situation, and it was a logistical nightmare. In the end, it worked out for all parties, especially the students that received very lenient grades.
The life lesson about letting people down, whether it’s yourself or others, is that you’ll never be able to change it. I’ve found the best way to get over letting people down is through a careful approach- owning what you did and rectifying the situation if possible. People remember humility, honesty and the fact that we are all human; no one is perfect. The best part is we’ll all be dead someday, and you forgetting to attend a meeting won’t matter anyway. At least you aren’t the Blockbuster guy who told Netflix to pound sand..
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