I know life hands us some pretty crappy things. And we can orchestrate some spectacular failures for ourselves. We all fail. But what happens after that?
It’s your choice. You get to choose.
Be a chooser.
Do you move forward or let it weigh you down?
Some of my failures could be considered masterpieces of failures. Hall of Fame worthy. I’ve failed as a mother, a partner, a leader, a business owner. I failed. I learned. I improved. I grow. Here are eight points I have learned and use to win from failure.
1. You’re not that special. [Recognize]
Rarely is your failure a one-of-its-kind. Other people have screwed up in the same or similar way. Think about it: in all the ways to mess up, are you really that special that you created a failure that is a first in history?
I doubt it. So cut yourself a break. Why not find people who made the same mistake and learn how they bounced back.
2. Short time in the ring. [Permission]
It is natural to beat yourself up when you fail. Instead of making it a new daily routine, try this: give yourself permission to do a little beating up then forgive yourself.
Take yourself in a boxing ring, throw a couple punches, then get out.
You don’t get a full round. Ten to fifteen seconds is all you get to give yourself your best shot, a jab or two. Then get out. Period. Take off the gloves. You’re done beating yourself up.
Forgive yourself and let’s move forward.
3. You’re still here. [Perspective]
As trite as it sounds, you’re still alive. If you’re reading this, the worst did not happen. And if your still here, you’re not done. You have more to do.
I’ve been there where after a massive failure, my starting point to move forward was, “Well, I woke up today, I’ve got more to do.”
Start where you can. Start where you are.
4. It’s not who you are. [Release]
Failure chains itself to us when we take it on as a character trait.
Failure is an event, not a personal attribute.
Failure is what happened, not a definition of you. Babies fail to walk across the room on their first try. You don’t label them a failure. Why be so hard on yourself? Stop it.
5. It’s a tool. [Learn]
Failure, as an event, is also a teachable moment. A tool. We all fail, it is how we learn. Remember the babies learning to walk? With each step then learn and build on their skills. They take these lessons and put them into practice. The walk. Then they run. Learn to use it to your advantage.
6. Use your brain. [Investigate]
Failure can be very emotional. I’ve melted into a puddle of tears before, which made the short stint in the boxing ring ugly. But then I flip the mad switch. It’s my personality. I tell the emotional side of my brain to go rest and let my analytical side take over.
Look at your failure from a neutral, deconstruction perspective. Ask yourself a series of questions to explore and dive into the fullness of the event:
“What went wrong… Where were early warning signs… What did I miss… What could I have seen… What actions did I take that helped or hindered… What can I learn that can help me make better decisions in similar situations… What did I do well… What resources do I have that I did not use…, etc.”
Dive deep. Keep asking questions. Answer honestly. This emotionally-detached deconstruction will serve as the blueprint for your growth.
Don’t ask only negative questions, recognize the positives in the situation, too.
7. Do something about it. [Ownership]
This is the chooser’s guide to winning at failing. So it makes sense that you need to make a choice and do something. Choose to move forward. Introspection, insight, and blueprints don’t mean diddlysquat without action.
Start. Take one action. It doesn’t have to be big, but there has to be a step. Build on it. Chart your progress. Celebrate your success every inch along the way – no matter how small.
8. Don’t be stingy. [Empowerment]
Share your experience with others. This will reinforce in you that you rock. You turned around a bad situation and it will encourage others that they can do it too. We are not isolated islands on this earth. We’re all in it together. We all get better, grow and benefit from our positive interactions and when we learn from each other.
You can do this. You can triumph. You can be an inspiration. You’ve got this!
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