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Handling Failure

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
Written by Tony Logan

Let’s be honest, failure teaches us far more than success ever will. So how come we don’t know how to handle failure? With social media capturing all of our successful moments it’s very rare that you will see anyone showcasing or speaking about their private or public failures, but it happens to everyone. Failure is uncomfortable and can haunt us like a bad breakup we didn’t see coming. First, we’re in denial. Next, we start to blame ourselves. And finally, we lose faith in ever trying again. But how we handle failure will inform us if we’re ready to handle success because in order to be successful we have to be failures for a short while. Dealing with the results will never be easy, but learning how to deal with them gives us the hope, discipline, and focus we need to get back on the road of success.

Just the facts.

When we look at our failures, the first place we have to analyze is the facts that led to the results. What went wrong? This part is critical because the information from the results can better prepare us for the next opportunity. Dealing with the results in the moment can be unbearable and hard to face because so much emotion is still attached to it. In fact, our first reaction may be to avoid looking at the results altogether or just write it off without ever acknowledging it, but that doesn’t mean the facts aren’t still there. Getting all the facts and just the facts will help you avoid the same failures. The more facts you can pull from the results, the better equipped you are to deal with the future.

Create a plan and make it plain.

Getting the facts from a setback does no good if we don’t learn to plan from it. Sure, you can have the ambition to jump right back into the ring after a knockout, but without a new strategy, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you get the same results. Take time to measure your plan against the facts to make adjustments where needed. It may be that the smallest detail overlooked can make the biggest difference. With new information and a new strategy, success is bound to present if you stick with it.

Stop blaming yourself

After you face the facts, come up with a plan of action. Then, the next and final step should be to forgive yourself. The main reason why handling failure is so difficult is that we internalize and relive the moment every time we think about it. It could have been a mistake you made months ago that still plagues your thoughts like it happened yesterday. If it’s a public failure, moving on is twice as hard because our public perception takes a hit and our venerability becomes visible. Taking accountability for your mistakes is honorable and upright but not to the point where you are tearing down your self-esteem and confidence in exchange. Accept the failure and any role you had in it and learn to move on.

An opportunity to be transparent

We live in an age of influencers, trendsetters, and tastemakers and they all seem to live the perfect life. The only problem with perfection is that it’s unrelatable and unrealistic.  To separate yourself from the pack I encourage you to share your personal failures (the ones you feel comfortable with) as a way to build a connection with people. Own, whatever mistake you made and build a conversation around it and what you learned from it. You may be surprised at how many people will respond and personally reach out to you to share their stories. 

Use energy!

Sometimes an extra burst of adrenaline is all we need for an intense workout that can come at the expense of failure. The physical symptoms after experiencing a devastating loss or setback can come in the form of tense shoulders, aching headache, and a boost of energy. What better way to use this energy than put it to good use? This route can be beneficial for people who often bottle up these emotions. We all know that eventually, everything that is built up will come up, so why not redirect it positively? You’ll come up stronger physically and emotionally, and we sleep like a baby afterwards. I’m all in favor of good sleep! 

We live in the age of influencers, trendsetters, and tastemakers who seem to live the perfect life. The only problem with that image is that it’s not real. Everybody life isn’t as perfect as their caption, and living the ideal life isn’t the goal. To live a meaningful life, it takes risk, and risk requires failure. Everyone will experience failure, but how we can handle is what separates us. Failure is never easy, and we all deal with it differently. The goal is not to avoid failure because that’s impossible especially if you’re daring to do something worthwhile. The goal should be to accept failure as a stepping stone that you can use to help you reach success. As long as you’re learning and growing from your past mistakes, then a failure is never a failure only a setback that’s preparing you for a step up.

More About PIVOT

Are you a person who is not afraid of taking a risk and embraces failure? Then you belong at PIVOT Co-Working! At PIVOT, we host quarterly workshops, and monthly events for our members to help educate and inform them how to grow their business. See why local influencers and entrepreneurs call PIVOT home at our two locations in Catonsville and Ellicott City. PIVOT members know that success doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen through collaboration, conversation, and coffee. Ready to join us? Click the link below to book a tour with one of our friendly community managers.

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