What do I love about failure? I love the way failure drives my determination to do better. In fact, some of my greatest accomplishments were driven by a previous “failure”. I see this often with clients, too. I have actually gotten to the point of using the word fail or failure almost never. The reason is that a failure is really a lesson. And to me, it is only a failure if you give up on life. If you keep going… you haven’t failed.
Was I always like this? No. I love to win and succeed. I have often experienced the sensation of being able to achieve what I want seamlessly and in a straightforward manner. So when I would “fail” – I hated it. I would dwell on it for weeks. I would be embarrassed and angry.
What I learned is that if I never “fail”- I am setting the achievement bar too low. When I am stretching, I am bound to make a few mistakes and that is okay- because I want the bar to be set high.
On an intellectual level, most of us understand and are able to say… I will do better next time. But on an emotional level, how can we take the sting out of an “epic fail”. You might have chuckled because most of us have not truly had an “epic fail” but we think we have in the moment of the experience.
So what can you do? When you are right in the middle of disappointment? First, be very gentle with yourself. Allow some quiet time to reflect, listen to music, journal and chill out. If you are in a public forum and you cannot leave, take deep breaths. Choose your words carefully- you don’t want to be a “sore loser”. Be happy (at least on the outside) for other’s success (eventually you will be able to be genuinely happy). Avoid quick decisions when you are in the middle of feeling the “failure”.
Allow some time to pass (it could be minutes, hours, days…) so you can gain perspective. Then go back to your journal and write down the positive side… you can even rewrite the experience minus the mistakes to train your brain for the next steps you take.
One of the best things about ‘failure” is that it can shake your energy up and give you a shot of momentum to make positive changes.
The best advice of all… keep going, keep doing, keep believing. Believe in YOU. I do.
Sheri Kaye Hoff, MA, CGCL.
Your Inspired Action Success Coach. Life Coach and Transformational Author of multiple books.