How To Recover Your Cool After A Blunder

14 October, 2015

Kevin Curtis

The pants I bought are silky and have a geometric print. (I know, I know. I should’ve known better.)

“I could wear these to a networking breakfast” I thought, picturing myself receiving admiring glances for my daring fashion sense over scrambled eggs and individually wrapped pods of jam.

“They’ll be a chic yet comfortable sashay-across-the-room-with-hands-in-pockets statement.” I told myself.

Until I wore them to the breakfast.

When I stood up to introduce myself the elasticised ankles had crept up to my calves. Suddenly I was wearing knickerbockers.

Perhaps if I surreptitiously push them down with my shoe? Nope. Still knickerbockers. With elastic indents around my ankles.

And then, I wondered, “What on earth do I do now?”

The experts say when we have a socially embarrassing moment we should maintain a sense of humour and move on. It’s all in the 3R’s.

Recover your composure

Get a grip. Is the situation really so bad? Assess it with perspective and avoid falling into any emotional potholes, like “OMG! I look ridiculous. Everyone in this room will lose respect for me”. If you can think of a witty one-liner, use it.

Refocus your energy

This is a little more demanding than recovery, and requires you to concentrate on what comes next. In this instance, it’s launching into the most excellently delivered elevator pitch ever. All you’ve ever learned about breathing, positive self-talk, focus and control will come in handy right now.


Here’s the bit that needs your courage. Get up, dress up, and show up again. Use your mistake as a mini trampoline from which you can bounce to better and better performances. See every retry as another opportunity to grow your skill set and tenacity.

Oh and don’t forget Rule No 6: Don’t take yourself so g-damn seriously. In the eyes of other people, your actions aren’t nearly as noteworthy as you think.

What social blunders have you made, and how did you recover? Tell us in the comments below.

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.