Our guest contributor Alyshia Venus shares some strategies we should consider when we experience failure.
Experiencing failure is part of life. In fact, some say that this is necessary in order to grow wiser and stronger, as well as to become more resilient in the way we handle problems. While this is easy to remember in terms of knowledge, actually experiencing this can have a massive impact on a person’s life; so much so that they can experience depression and have lowered self-esteem as a result of the negative experience.
It’s Not Personal
In Five Ways To Make Peace With Failure, Susan Tardanico advises us not to take failure personally because our identity is not tied to the failure. The experience of failing is event-based and is separate from who we are as a person. Believing that we are defined by failure, can lead to depression and constant self-doubt; it can even prevent us from doing something meaningful later on in life out of fear that we will fail again. Take to heart, the fact that many successful people today have experienced failure themselves – like you, and me, they managed to brush off the experience and used it as leverage to push forward.
Take an Honest Look Back
Before moving forward, we first need to examine what happened that led to the failure. In 5 Ways to Cope With Failure – A Widow’s Guide to Healing, Kristin Meekhof advises that healing and recovery happens once the truth is revealed. Instead of burying our head in the sand, or denying what happened, we need to face the truth and that includes any mistakes that may have been made. This is by no means encourages self-flagellation; rather, it is intended for us to understand our errors so we can learn from them and avoid committing the same mistakes in the future. Alice van Harten, at Menlo Coaching, suggests that reflecting on the experience will not only help you understand the experience but it will also give you the opportunity to cull lessons, which you can use later on in life.
In How to Move Past Failure by Patrick Allan, by recognising that failure can take an emotional toll on us, we should also give ourselves the right to feel those emotions, Instead of bottling it all up, which can do more harm than good, we can accept our emotions related to the failure. He suggest that we allow oneself to feel sad or angry, but do not allow the emotions to overwhelm us. One strategy we can use, is to give ourselves a time limit to reflect on the failure and not revisit it again. We could also talk about how we are feeling with someone we trust which will help release the negativity and learn to let go.
Why You Should ‘Try Again’
Don’t let the experience of failure keep you from doing something you love. Part of the recovery process means standing up and trying again. Certainly, your second attempt may not automatically equate to success. Nonetheless, the experience of failure will better prepare you to experience something similar, and you should be able to bounce back much quicker. The important thing to remember is to not let failure paralyse you into inaction.