No matter what we’ve failed at: be it stuffing up a recipe, failing to receive a raise or not losing as much weight as we thought we would; failure stings can bring with it some pretty funky feels like disappointment, shame, embarrassment, and anger. That’s why we have created some tips for dealing with potential stuff-ups and moving on from failure.
Despite not being something we’re taught at school, dealing with failure is one of life’s most fundamental skills. Understanding how to deal with –– and move on from –– failures helps to reduce the sting that accompanies them; and it helps us to find ways of bouncing back faster, becoming more successful in the long run.
Time To Reflect
Reflect upon times when you have failed in the past. How did those failures make you feel? Sad? Angry? Disappointed? Hopeless? Consider whether the emotions that you associated with these past failures are appropriate or whether they’re out of proportion for the situation. This is so important for dealing with potential stuff ups and moving on from failure.
Grab A Pen & Paper
Putting your thoughts onto paper can help you from over analysing situations and to overcome negative thoughts. Make a list of some of the times you’ve failed in the past, and for each event, create a corresponding list of the reasons why you failed. For example: It was too hard, I was tired, someone else intervened, it’s not working fast enough, I’m too busy and so on.
Evaluate & Overcome
Having a physical copy of your failures will help you understand what happened more clearly, and will help you gain control over your thoughts. Read back through these past events and their associated reasons and assess if there are any common threads. Does the same person intervene each time, preventing you from succeeding? Is there a similar root cause for each? For example: Are you commonly impatient or do things not move fast enough for you? Perhaps it’s working late that has prevented you from succeeding at your goals in the past? What negative patterns do you tend to repeat? (And what stories are you telling yourself about why these things have happened?)
Common Failure Themes
There are many common accompanying themes for past failures that include: fear of failure, fear of success, self-sabotage, improper planning, expecting too much too quickly, lack of support, external sabotage, procrastination, lack of persistence, lack of discipline, inability to assume responsibility (or blaming others), and dismissing –– or not learning from –– past mistakes. Consider whether any of these are true for you and if so, think about what can you do in order to overcome these themes to avoid failure next time.
Ask Yourself Why
It may feel silly but it’s so important to understand the whys. Take some time and ask yourself: Are you afraid of failing? Are you scared of succeeding? Or are you scared to even try? If so, why? Perhaps you’re scared to show you care about something? Or scared to lose that cool, calm and collected exterior? Or scared to appear vulnerable? If so, why? Try to trace each thread back to its source. Keep asking “why?” and follow the rabbit-hole as far as it goes.
Everybody Has Failures
Seeing that somebody you look up to or somebody successful also has failures can be extremely beneficial, it shows that we are all human and all experience failure at some point in our lives. Take some time to research a few famous failures, learn from their perspectives and study their approach to bouncing back.
Time To Move Forward
Finally, try not to get stuck on the failure or the mistake itself. Dwelling on past mistakes or replaying “what went wrong” won’t do much to help you succeed. Instead, think about how you might be able to use the information you’ve gathered and do things differently next time when a similar situation presents itself.
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