Failure is inevitable. At certain points in our lives, we all have suffered one setback or another. Whether it’s in school, when applying for a new job, or as an entrepreneur getting rejected by investors. Not succeeding is nothing to be ashamed of, it is how you react and carry on that determines your long term success. Like the saying goes “in order to succeed greatly, you must be prepared to fail greatly as well”. This is a mindset that can see you push past virtually any setback, so you can be more successful. The same applies in business, dwelling on defeat and letting missed opportunities define you is unacceptable. While some people fall apart when they hit rock bottom, others pull themselves together and rebound. When trying to get over failure and the negative feelings that follow it, the most important thing to do is not wallow. Try to accept what happened and move past it as quickly as you can. If need be, give yourself a deadline for accepting what happened and try to move past it before that time comes. Here are some steps for bouncing back when you encounter failure.
- Clearly define your own success: Failure is subjective. If your definitions of success are very rigid, you will experience disappointment often. Ignoring the common definitions of success takes courage and a desire to embrace both the good and bad. If we can be certain of something, it’s that nothing is certain in life, so basing our self-worth on something that may or may not happen is hardly wise. Redefining success for yourself takes an internal shift, not an external outcome. Even though it’s not as obvious to other people as money is, it doesn’t mean it is any less real. When you define your own success, you do away with the one-size-fits-all way of looking at achievements. Your life, your challenges and your situation are peculiar to you and you alone. Use this to define your own success and stop thinking that it must look a certain way. However, defining your own success doesn’t permit you to set goals that don’t push you to achieve at a higher level than you currently are.
- Find value in your failure: When you experience a setback, you can either decide that you failed at it or that you succeeded in learning some valuable lessons that will be to your advantage in the next venture. The Dalai Lama said “Sometimes, not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck”. There are numerous personalities and companies that eventually succeeded after several failures(J.K Rowling and Abraham Lincoln come to mind), but financial success is not the only type of success there is. Personal success: moving on from failure and disappointment to a path that makes you happy. One of the greatest achievements in life is deciding to be empowered by failure, and not paralyzed by it.
- Put the lessons you’ve learnt to use: We cannot benefit from failure if we don’t use the lessons learnt from it the next time we try the same action. Never allow failure to define you or stop you from moving outside your comfort zone to try and get something you want. Failure is disastrous when it stops us from aiming for what we want. Find ways to turn your disappointments into motivation and a n avenue for learning. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. – Winston Churchill.
- Find opportunities in disappointments: There’s the story of a boy who was searching for a job. Wherever he went and asked, he was told the same thing “Sorry, we’re not hiring”. After several tries with no luck, he set a goal for himself: for every company he visited, one of two things would happen. He would either get a job or sell them a self-made sign that said “not hiring”. This is a classic example of thinking outside the box and not letting your failures stop you from hiring. Thinking outside the box may not get us exactly what we want, but it can get us just what we need.