Life being what it is, it’s not a question of if a mistake will happen, but when:

> You arrive at the salon to find out you never started yesterday’s load of towels.

> A client calls you an hour after her appointment concerned that her nails are not shiny at all. Did you forget the top coat?

> A client walks in saying she has an appointment, but you do not have her in your books. She shows you your business card with the appointment clearly on the back. Looks like you rebooked her, but forgot to put it in your appointment book.

Jeri Mallow

Jeri Mallow

If any of these things — or things like them — has ever happened to you, then you’ve experienced a moment of failure. Whether your offense is large or small, you can and should move beyond it, says Jeri Mallow, the owner of Nail Essentials in Hartford, Wis., and an instructor at Moraine Park Technical College. Mallow counsels her nail students to follow these three steps to handle life’s little mishaps with grace.

1. Own it. You made a mistake. You forgot something. Admit it and be accountable, but don’t look back with guilt or engage in negative self-talk. You are not a bad person, you just made a mistake. Join the club.

2. Learn from it. Ask yourself the important questions. If you forget to pay a bill, is there a better way you could organize your bill paying? If your client retention is low, could you use some extra classes? If you’ve been fired more than once, is it really just your bosses who are the problem? Don’t wallow in what you did wrong; instead identify the underlying issue, take a positive step towards beginning a new process or approach, and learn from every situation.

3. Let it go. The worst thing you can do after a failure is to drag it into the future. Have you ever told someone a story about your failure only to have the outcome change? No. So leave it behind and move forward.

“Most importantly, be supportive around other people’s failures,” says Mallow. “If you shine brightly for someone else during their failure, it can diminish the defeat of your own.”

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