As we young professionals build careers, we rarely (if ever) factor in the inevitability of failure at some point along the way.
Why would we? In the beginning, it feels like nothing can stand in the way of success. There’s typically a voice in the back of our minds that repeats “failure is not an option, failure is not an option…” which becomes the driving force behind all our efforts, especially when times are tough.
In my mid-twenties, I felt like failure was not an option for me. I was confident that if I gave 110% to my career, it would succeed—I would succeed. Nothing could stop me. I was smart, talented, motivated and extremely dedicated to my vision.
But then I closed the doors on my first full-time entrepreneurial endeavor… and watched over $100,000 go down the drain. Gone. This wasn’t the first failure in my life, but it was definitely the biggest, most magnificent failure of them all.
When you’re new to failure, it takes a while to recover.
For me, it took over a year to pick myself up and get back in the saddle. Since that time, I’ve begun to factor failure into my career strategy. Not in a negative way, but just as a normal part of the process.
The truth is, everyone fails. Those who succeed fail fast and they fail often. They embrace failure—sometimes learning to absolutely love it—because failure is the time that you will learn the very most. Plus, typically, you’ll find that the magnitude of your success is in a direct ratio to the frequency and size of your failures.
If you can get comfortable with failure now and start to build up your resilience, you will be way ahead of the game and have a better chance of staying employed in the long-term.
Once you realize failure is just a normal part of the experience, how can you make it work for you? How can you benefit from all the times that you have (or will) fall on your face? How can you start to recover quicker?
Here are 3 steps to turn your immediate failures into lasting successes…
#1: Reframe the Situation
No matter how painful it might feel at the time, failure is temporary if you use it as an opportunity for learning and growth. Don’t base your self-esteem on your failures. Try to reframe your current situation by looking the positives that you can take away from it. Ask a close friend or colleague to give you a fresh perspective on the circumstances—generally it’s not as bad as you think it is in your head (and 9 times out of 10 will turn out to be a good thing in the long run).
Be sure to take a breather before jumping right back in and risking making bad career decisions when you’re feeling emotional. Take the down time you need to collect yourself and put your situation into perspective.
#2: Extract the Lessons
You will learn more from your failures than from your successes. That’s why it’s important to learn ALL YOU CAN when you’re faced with an immediate failure. Tony Robbins says, “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”
In order to cultivate your success foundation, make a list of everything you learned from your failure—about your job, about yourself, and about your life. Use these lessons to sharpen your objectivity and strengthen your resilience. You want to move forward making new mistakes, not repeating old ones over and over again.
#3: Move Forward
If plan A doesn’t work out, there is always a plan B (whether you realize it at the time or not). In my case, it took me over a year after my big failure to get myself back on track and start my next business. It wasn’t instantaneous, but I guarantee you I took everything good and bad that I learned from my previous experiences to set myself up to win the next time around.
When you feel like you have enough ideas to create a new plan of action and move forward, write down your plan. Then take a deep breath, dig in your heels and keep on truckin’.
Of course, in the end, the only true failure in life or in business is not attempting anything at all. Robert Schuller said, “I would rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.”
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Under30CEO!
About the Author: Laurel Staples runs a popular blog & podcast called Go Fire Yourself that gives you the insider secrets to successfully quit your day job, become your own boss and never look back. Download Laurel’s free ebook: Income Switch: How to Replace Your 9-to-5 Income by Building a Profitable (& Unstoppable) Online Platform by visiting her website gofireyourself.com
Image courtesy of my.englishclub.com… thank you!