So, you’ve failed. Not just a small mistake or a harmless slip up – a big, bad, epic, humiliating screw up!
I’ve experienced plenty of failures in my life. From falling two points short of passing my 12th grade piano exam, to being fired not once, but twice in my 20s; I am no stranger to the pain and embarrassment that comes with an epic fail.
But the crazy thing about failure is, it’s actually NEEDED if you’re going to really grow. Played correctly, failure can be turned into the most epic dose of high octane fuel that will push you to the next level.
The way to grow from failure is to experience it and realize it won’t kill you, giving you the confidence to chance failing again. The more comfortable you are with failure, the more likely you are to take those life and career changing risks.
This isn’t the type of thing you’ll learn in business school; this training can only be learned through painfully lived experiences. So, team, here are some hard learned tips to help you push through failure onto your next great success.
1.Tell the Truth and Feel the Pain
Ok, so you really frikin’ blew it. The last thing you probably want to do is go around telling people that you’re a big failure. It’s actually human nature to have an initial desire to tell a lot of people (and yourself) a big story about how it wasn’t your fault. Somehow it feels less painful if you can deflect the blame, right?
Admitting that you screwed up is really, really hard. But ultimately, it is exactly what you need to make failure your fuel. By telling the truth to yourself, you can take your anger and emotion away from blaming others and instead funnel it into the drive to show the world what you’re made off. When you own your big bad failure, all of a sudden you have the freeing feeling of knowing that you are in charge of not making that same mistake again.
2. Talk It Out
Find someone you trust, and talk through what happened. Research shows that opening up about a failure in the right situations can actually make you seem more approachable and relatable, potentially strengthening your work and personal relationships. Sharing that you are less than insta-perfect humanizes you and gives others the permission to be open about their own imperfections. Plus, you might be saving someone from making the same mistake that you did!
3. Put it to Paper
If you’re having trouble processing your failure, try journaling about your experience. Just the simple act of putting pen to paper and fully admitting what happened can help you move on and turn that anger and disappointment into fresh determination. Write out the whole story, including your contribution, until you start to feel the full emotion of the experience. From there ask yourself: “What did I learn?” and “What will I do differently next time?”
4. Drive On
A friend once told me, “When something goes wrong, you get twenty-four hours for a pity party to feel super sorry for yourself. Then it’s time to ask: ‘What are you doing about it?’”
In the end, it’s not about the failure, it’s what you do afterwards. Once you’ve admitted what happened and you’ve repositioned the failure as a learning experience, it’s time to DO SOMETHING. This is the part where you take all the humiliation, anger, sadness, and embarrassment, and turn it into the next step that will push you on the path to greatness. It doesn’t matter how small the step you take forward, just as long as you take one. This will begin the positive momentum towards your next great achievement.
In those tough moments when you feel like you’re never going to recover from a failure, remember: If you haven’t failed, you haven’t discovered the real potential that lies within you. If you don’t awesomely fail you can’t epically succeed.
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