Dealing With Failure

“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.” – B.F. Skinner

If you’ve ever experienced failure, you know that it can be difficult to come to terms with or deal with – especially when you feel like you’ve given your very best effort. And, lots of people may have advice for you on how to handle it, but if you’re in need of some quick tips on how to deal with failure – here are some things that can help.

  • Accept Your Feelings: However you may be feeling at the current time – accept it. Whether you feel angry, sad, anxious, shocked – no matter what the feeling – it’s okay. Let yourself feel the emotion. By not allowing yourself to feel your emotions, you may only delay dealing with your setback.
  • Experiencing Failure Doesn’t Mean You’re a Failure: It’s important to identify that, although you have experienced failure, you are not a failure. Failure doesn’t always occur because of something you’ve done or a mistake you’ve made. And you need to recognize this and know that failure doesn’t define who you are.
  • Learn From It: Take the time to learn from your failure. Can you look back at the setback and see where things might have gone wrong? Can you see where you might change things if you want to try again? 
  • Know That Everyone Experiences Setbacks: It may seem like you’re the only person who experiences setbacks, but everyone fails. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Stephen King submitted his book to over 30 different publishers before it was finally accepted. Oprah Winfrey was declared “unfit for television” at one of her first television jobs. You are in good company if you’ve experienced some sort of failure.
  • Seek Out Support: While it may seem like the ideal time to try and hide your failure, it may be in your best interest to seek out support. You may want to discuss your setback with a good friend or family member who can listen to you and help you work through your feelings. Or, if you’re going to try again, maybe there are experts who can provide advice that will make this next attempt a success for you.
  • Create a New Plan: Once you’ve taken the time to work through your feelings and learn from what happened, it’s time to create a new plan. Your new plan may involve completely changing paths and abandoning your former plans. Or, you may spend time creating a plan that can help you achieve your original goal.
  • Put Your New Plan to Work: Then it’s time to execute your new plan. Whether you have switched directions or you’re making a second attempt, you can’t give up. Work through your new plan and make your next attempt a success.

Failure can set you back for a little bit, but if you work through your emotions, seek support, and create a new plan, you can soon be back on the road to success. Take the time to learn from the past to create a brighter future.

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