Dealing With Failure
EVERYONE has to learn to deal with not meeting expectations– whether your own, or someone else’s. Here, I share some of my master list of actions you can take to help you deal with failure.
Of course, your definition of ”failure” shapes how you handle situations where you don’t see the results you expected.
My aim for this post is to help you continue some type of forward movement in the wake of minor disappointments and big disasters.
Because you have an innate need to feel progress, when failure knocks you down it sucks. This is partly because it slows down, or halts entirely, your progress- but often it can also feel like a blow to the ego (ouch).
I’ve seen lots of clients and colleagues who handle failure, and fear of failure, in a variety of ways. I’ve identified a handful of common approaches that many people rely on following a failure situation, in order to process it and move on. Perhaps you can relate to some of these:
- The TOUGH LOVE APPROACH- that of a stereotypical drill-sergeant= brutal motivation to not quit
- The STAY POSITIVE NO MATTER WHAT APPROACH- the belief that eternal optimism is enough to keep going
- The FAIL-FORWARD APPROACH- every failure presents an opportunity to course-correct, much like a missile requires on its path toward the target
- The LESSONS LEARNED APPROACH- essentially a “post-mortem” analysis to identify what NOT to do next time
- The MORE TIMES YOU FAIL, THE MORE TIMES YOU SUCCEED APPROACH – since Success is basically just a numbers game, keep taking action
- The IT’S OK TO BE UPSET, BUT ONLY FOR A LITTLE BIT APPROACH- this allows a small amount of whining and wallowing, then it’s back on track
Frankly, I think all of these have merit. Each will feel like the right fit for a specific person in a specific situation- but none of them are appropriate all the time.
Failure is part of success, and part of life. Here's how to handle yourself when it happens
Failure is part of life! At some point, we realize we have some old conditioning about “failure“ that sometimes serves us well and sometimes lets us down completely…
Recently as I explored solutions to many things holding people back from their desired level of success, I came up with 11 ways to handle failure when it occurs (the rest are in the podcast).
I invite you to try one or more of the following to make failures a little easier and get back on track with creating success, faster!
- Remember: you WILL fail. Give up the idea that it is to be avoided at all costs since this can keep you fearful and ineffective.
- Avoid stagnation through inaction. Idleness leads to over-thinking, over-analyzing, and sometimes a kind of depression. Action is the middle finger to fear, doubt and worry! Get off your pity pot and do SOMETHING. This will give you an energy boost, and while you focus on something else your mind will process the “failure” and devise ideas for moving onto the next project.
- Make what’s next a fun experiment! Go big and bold; if it’s an “experiment,” that means what happens is a learning experience rather than a failure, right? So go ahead and make some plans for your next experiment.
- Never mind what other people think! They are 99% likely to be stewing in their own worries, doubts, and fears, and not thinking of your problems at all. It helps to remember that “What Other People Think of You is None of Your Business!”
- Use music to shift your mood: Play your favorite song or pick an uplifting playlist to help shift you into gear.
What to do now?
Consider a recent “failure” and apply your favorite from the list NOW.
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Share with me your RESULTS from using this: I want to hear about your challenges and how you got moving again!
Or post in the blog comments below.