If you are living and breathing, then you will have failure. It is a part of life and sometimes it can feel like a never ending disposition. Failure at work! Failure in parenting! Failure in your relationship! Failure can come at you in so many different ways and the way it makes you feel can sometimes create more failure. But, failure is not in isolation and without it successes would make less sense. It is almost as if they feed each other even though they are traveling in different directions. How do you define failure? How can failure help you reach your goals? What are lessons that you should learn from every failed situation? How do you look at failure differently so that you can triumph over it? In this post, I will dive into these questions and also give you the top ways to combat failure in your life in 2023.
What is failure?
Failure obviously has a technical definition, so here it is. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines failure as "a omission of occurence or performance." Failure in your own life could be in many forms. It could be you studied really hard for an exam but either you failed it or you didn't get the desired mark that you wanted. Both did not produce the kind of occurence that you wanted. Or for so many of us, failure is not reaching the desired sales levels in our business. Anyway you define failure, it can be devastating. It can trigger feelings of emotional pain and trigger a domino effect to more failure.
What should you learn from failure?
As I mentioned before, failure should not be viewed in isolation. It has to exist on a continuum or a bridge to your successes. Here are 5 things that you should learn from any failed experience.
1) Acknowledgement of failure
It is okay to acknowledge that you have failed and also acknowledge any kinds of feelings that might come from your failure. It is okay to allow yourself to feel sadness or anger or defeat. It creates a heightened sense of responsibility that will become important in the future.
2) Separate yourself from your failure
Failure cannot and should not define who you are as a person. Don't use failure to equate to your womanhood or your manhood. It is a dangerous exercise when you use your failures to become who you think you are. Your business failed, but you are still an awesome person.
3) Learn from what just happened
We all fail but what is even worse is if we don't learn from it. What are some of the things that you did that should be avoided in the future? What did you do right, even though you feel you failed overall? Always use failure as a learning experience. Otherwise, it will intercept your future successes. And you don't want that.
4) Re-evaluate your goals
Sometimes failure happens because the goals that you set for yourself were never realistic in the first place. Any goal that you create should be a SMART goal. It should be very specific, quite measurable, trend toward achievement, be highly realistic and occur in a timely fashion. If you don't set SMART goals, then failure is inevitable. So re-evaluate your existing goals and make sure they follow the SMART goal principle or model.
5) Adapt a persistent attitude
If you give up after one or two failed experiences then failure wins all the time. You have to be persistent in your attitude and your desires to keep going. To not give up. To PUSH through the failure and use it to your advantage. Did you know that most professional athletes will review their game and analyze their performance? They do it because it allows them to pinpoint points of redemption. Points of correction. Failure is like that. It is an opportunity to establish points of correction that will move you closer toward success. Don't give up.
How can failure help you reach your goals?
If you look at failure in the right way and think of it as a learning experience, then you can also use it to reach your goals. Here's how:
1) Evaluate your goals and create a good and bad list
If you consider failure to be a teaching exercise rather than something bad then you can use it to create better goals. Take each of your goals and draw a line in the middle and write the word good on one side and bad on the other side. Carefully evaluate your goals so that you can look at it in a more comprehensive aspect. Knowing where you went wrong(bad) will serve to help you avoid doing it again. On the more positive side of that is the good. What did you do right and should continue doing again?
2) Creates better problem solving
Once you engage in the good and bad exercise of your goal evaluation, it will then allow you to focus on becoming a better problem solver. A skill that is highly important not just in your personal life but also in your professional life. Failure can help you to get a fresh or new perspective on whatever problem you are having.
3) Gives you another shot at redemption
Okay, so you failed but like I said it cannot be the end. Think of failure as another shot at getting it right or a chance for you to redeem yourself. The key to redemptive failure is to apply what you learn so that you can triumph over your obstacles.
4) It teaches you perseverance
We have all heard the saying: "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again." That is perseverance. Not giving up but preserving until your goals are in a winning position. Imagine, you gave up on your goal just as it is about to take off. What would that feel and look like for you?
5) Makes growth more meaningful
It is not when we are on top of the mountain that we learn the most. It is during the struggle to get to the top of the mountain. What did you learn along the way? What would you have done differently? Were there chances for correction along the way that you missed? And here is a big one in growth that most people miss during a failed experience. What did you do right? If you picked apart failure, what were you most successful at? In the middle of failure, there is always something that should be seen as positive.
How to get over the emotional side of failure?
There is no denying that failure has an emotional component. It is hard to get over and as mentioned, it can lead to more failure. How can you get past the feeling that failure brings to your psyche? How do you get over it? Here's how!
Validate your feelings
Don't try to suppress how you feel about your failure. Validate your feelings as they are real and very important. It is okay to feel how you feel after a failed experience. Whether it is anger or sadness or anxiety- validate it. This will help you to move forward in what to do next.
Give yourself a break
You deserve to give yourself a break. A time to practice self-compassion. You deserve to give yourself some grace. To know that you did your best even if you failed.
Don't dwell on it
One of the worst things you can do after a failed experience is to dwell on it. Dwelling means beating yourself up. What you should do instead is learn from it and move on. Focus your energy on growth instead.
Change your internal language
Instead of using defeated language such as "I'm such a failure." or "All I do is fail." Change your internal language to create a more empowering mindset. Such as I haven't made my sales quota yet but I will. Or I haven't met the right partner yet, but I will. If you allow negative words or words of failure to rule your internal dialogue then failure will seem more real to you. Here are 5 Ways to Shift Your Mindset and Embrace a Positive Outlook.
Failure is a part of everyone's life. It can come in many different forms and it can bring about many different emotions and really affect how we view ourselves.
What can we learn from failure?
Acknowledgement of failure- it is okay to acknowledge that you have failed at something.
Separate yourself from failure-Something you were trying to do failure- not you failed at something.
Learn from failure- if you don't learn anything from failure then it is bound to repeat itself again.
Re-evaluate your goals- Maybe you failed because the goals you had were not realistic. Use the SMART goals model instead to make and create better goals.
Adapt a persistent attitude- Without persistence then failure wins all the time. Keep going until something happens.
How can failure help you?
Failure can help you by doing the following:
- Give you sharper way to evaluate what was good and what did not work so much
- Allows you to become a better problem solver. It forces you to try another way
- Failure is redemptive. It allows you to get another shot at things.
-It teaches you how to persevere- to know that you can make it to the other side.
-Growth becomes more meaningful because you overcame failure to find your strength
Getting over the emotional side of failure is also important. You can do this by validating your feelings. Give yourself grace and realize that you deserve to give yourself a break. Not dwelling on failure is also crucial because dwelling creates more sense of failure. Finally, changing what you say to yourself internally is paramount in changing how you perceive things through failure.
Remember growth includes failure. We all fail!
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