The idea of failure can be paralysing for most. However those that have succeeded know it is pretty bloody vital. Success is often termed as “going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”, and there are so many reframing approaches to “failure” as being learnings, a step closer to success, and indeed an essential part of the game of life.
I used to think one failure defined me. I now know that every failure is an opportunity to develop, a new signpost, a new motivation, a method of growth.
It isn’t what happens to you that matters, in as much as to how you react to what happens.
So, failure? How should we react? What should we do or not do?
Let’s look at some tips.
- ACCEPT IT – you are going to fail. In some way. You have got to get good at failing. Of course don’t hunt it out, but accept that it WILL happen. So accept that things will not go perfectly to plan all that often, because if thats your expectation you will spend a lot of time disappointed. Mentally prepare yourself for a failure, whilst hoping for uninterrupted success. The best in our game I see deal best with the many challenges they have. If you want more success, accept that you will have more failures.
- AVOID EMOTIONAL RESPONSE – emotion does not help you during these times. Take some time to consider your actions and response to a situation that challenges you. Rationality is vital during a challenging time. The worst decisions I have ever made have been driven by emotion and not logic, so force yourself to step back.
- KNOW WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER – a follow on from number 2. Sometimes stepping back is not enough, and you need to step away. Know what activity allows you to completely step away. Is it reading, exercise, dinner out, time with the kids? What is going to settle your mood, remove that emotion and allow you to step back in when you are in a different frame of mind? Do what you need to do to reset.
- TAKE THE LEARNINGS – you should learn more from failing than you do your successes, make sure you take the time to review what/why it happened. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, so the analysis of failings in the hunt for future success is absolutely vital. Failings are only a step to success IF you are willing, and do, learn from them. Otherwise, they are going to compound and hurt you a lot more in the future.
5. RE-EVALUATE CONSISTENTLY – now we have talked about the need for failure (or the learnings from it), but you should also use it to re-evaluate your position. Perhaps you need to delegate certain tasks, you need to employ someone else in a roll you have learned you cannot do, approach a different investment strategy or a different area, change the way you or others are working and much more. Re-evaluate with consistency and honesty. Learn from your failings first, but then make the changes you need to succeed in future as soon after as you can. To know and not to do, is as much use as to not know.
6. HAVE A STRONG SUPPORT NETWORK – Friends, Family, Business Colleagues, people in the same game, mentors and coaches – can all be vital during your failings. People who have walked a similar path can make you confident each failure is a natural event and not the end of the world should you not let it be. Perspective is so vital at moments of challenge, because when you are in the eye of the storm you sometimes cannot see the woods for the trees.
Also a strong network that helps you to step away, to take that emotional reprieve we talked about in point 3 can be just as valuable at the right times.
7. DO NOT TAKE YOURSELF OR THE POSITION YOU ARE IN TOO SERIOUSLY – honestly, I don’t know what the challenge is for you at this point in time, but I can pretty confidently say that it isn’t the end of the world. Almost everything is recoverable. When you truly start to believe that no matter how shit feels, you can sort it out with the right approach and mindset, help and support , accountability and actions. You empower yourself in any future challenges that you may have.
8. IT IS ONLY PERMANENT IF YOU LET IT BE – DO NOT DWELL ON IT. Whether you think it is permanent or not, you are right. Failure is permanent if you allow it to stop you taking the next step. Far too many have and do on a daily basis. There are so many incredible stories of success from people who never gave up after a setback. In fact the image below says it best, so I will shut up on this point:
9. IT ISN’T PERSONAL – This is the hardest thing for those who have failed to accept. It isn’t just you. People fail, in some way, small or big, every.single.day. Sh*t happens, and things don’t go to plan, more often than we are usually told. You have got to disassociate the idea that failure is a curse, reserved only for you. That is victim mindset, and the victim rarely allows them to succeed. If success were easy, then it would belong to everyone, and if it belonged to everyone it wouldn’t be as near as attractive as it is. Failure is happening to all of the successes you are looking enviously, usually on a much larger scale, but the fact that they are dealing with that in a different way to the majority is the reason they are where they are.
10. OWN.THAT.SHIT – this has many sides to it. Firstly own that it will happen. Secondly, own when it is happening and respond accordingly. Thirdly, own your role in its happening. What did you do, what could you have done better, what will you do next time. Finally, own that it will happen again in the future. Your challenges and failings do not go away as you get more successful, they get bigger. You will get better dealing with them though. That is progress. That is personal development.
Own all of the above – and you are on a road to success, one failure at a time.
I hope that helps.
I am dealing with a load of failures at the minute, so we have kept this brief.
Here’s to more failing.
I will leave you with a gentle reminder. Go out and smash it.