Failure is part of life. Although unpleasant it teaches lessons that lead to success and consolidate ability, knowledge and agility.
Famous people said about failure…
“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” ~ J.K. Rowling
Emotions and reactions.
When we fail,
- we may feel angry, frustrated, tired, depressed, sad, anxious,
- we may blame others or bad luck for our failure,
- we may give up
- or we may fear …
Just think that…
We all make mistakes until we learn. Failure is precious feedback.
Successful people had huge failures until they succeeded (Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk to mention a few…). You have the right to be wrong and the opportunity to try again until you get it right!
Tips for dealing with failure.
Be kind to yourself; everyone makes mistakes.
Allow yourself to feel all the negative emotions.
Recognize that failing is normal and human.
Take time to understand what went wrong.
Don’t fear failure, it inevitable; think how you can use it to your advantage!
Adopt a strategy to recover.
- Accept your failure as part of the process. In the long run a failure is insignificant.
- Recognize your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Don’t get stuck with them though!
- Analyze the situation and facts to find what went wrong. Probably some things went well and some others didn’t.
- Take some distance from the experience.
- Be kind to yourself and get inspiration from your vision.
What could failure teach?
How to manage emotions
Discover strengths and weaknesses
The need for new skills
The need for new knowledge
Think of your first reaction to failure – take a moment and reflect
Do you blame yourself? Do you blame others? Do you blame luck?
Do you accept responsibility? What are your feelings when you realise that you failed? Do you accept failure?
Can you clearly see what went wrong and what went well? Do you rethink your goal? Do you feel sure about your goal?
You may use a Thought Diary
Step 1. Allow your emotions to be expressed. You have the right to make mistakes.
Step 2. Take some distance from the event.
Step 3. Try to see clearly what went well and went wrong.
Step 4. Think again of your goal. If you still want it, prepare yourself to try; if you don’t, you may need to reconsider what you want.
Taking distance, relaxing and reviewing
Information we get from Failure:
Process – things that went well throughout the process and things that went wrong,
Environment – the context and situation that helped or blocked us
Skills – our strengths and weaknesses,
Behaviours – our reaction and behaviour to the situation
It is important to take distance and review. Analysing and understanding with clarity will provide precious information for our next steps. Remember: failure is a step to success if you use its lessons!
Be open to feedback and ask for advice. Reconfirm your goal
Reasons for failure
We often fail for a number of reasons; some common reasons are the following:
Lack of ability
Inconsistent or insufficient process
Difficult task exceeding our competence
Deviance from initial goal
Keep the lessons and move on.
Find explanations and not excuses.
Plan for fixing and preventing.
Get back to action.
Amend your plans make them realistic.
Be optimistic and persistent!
Failure is a step towards achievement
Failure is feedback. Use is to learn and improve. Take responsibility for both success and failure. Failure helps you focus and reassess goals; it is a valid test to your dedication and confidence in your choice!
List of References
Bandura, A. (1978). Reflections on self-efficacy. Advances in behaviour research and therapy, 1(4), 237-269.
Blakemore, S. J., & Frith, C. (2003). Self-awareness and action. Current opinion in neurobiology, 13(2), 219- 224.
Caldwell, C., & Hayes, L. A. (2016). Self-efficacy and self-awareness: moral insights to increased leader effectiveness. Journal of Management Development.
Hall, D. T. (2004). Self-awareness, identity, and leader development. In Leader development for transforming organizations (pp. 173-196). Psychology Press.
Saxena, P. (2015). Johari Window: An effective model for improving interpersonal communication and managerial effectiveness. SIT Journal of Management, 5(2), 134-146.