Recovering from failure

Anyone who has ever taken a risk, tried something new, accepted a dare, or embarked on an unknown adventure has probably failed. Failure is neither futile nor fatal – unless you allow it to be. Let’s take the focus off of the fail and redirect our thinking to moving forward. It’s ok to try and fail. It’s ok to try again and to fail again. It’s not ok to beat yourself up continuously about mistakes made in the past. We are human and error is part of the fabric of our being. Here are 7 action steps to success when you experience failure.

1) Acknowledge the failure.

You’ve just figured out a way NOT to do something.

2) Don’t dwell

The effort you made may not have gotten you the results you intended and may have even erupted into some unforeseen consequences, but dwelling on it will not change that outcome. Forgive yourself. Grant grace.

3) Try to identify what went wrong and where it went wrong

Take the focus off of the failure itself and look deeper into why something went awry. Note this for the future so you can avoid the same missteps on the next try.

4) Conduct a SWOT analysis

It’s necessary to periodically revisit our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats so that we can strategically plan for the future.

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5) Apologize

If the mistake you made affected others, take responsibility and apologize for the error in judgement or action. You can’t control how others will respond, but you can control how you respond. Hold your power.

6) Make a plan

Moving forward is the most productive option. How will you move forward? What do you want to do? If necessary, consult with a trusted mentor, colleague, client, or friend.

8) Journal your journey

It’s easy to forget essential steps or to-dos along the way. Just as you document client progress and success, you need to document your personal journey so that you have a collection of reflective notes to refer back to as time goes on. Accepting that failure is part of the formula for success is the most valuable lesson you can learn from the experience. Be prepared to make mistakes – big ones and small ones – but be committed to moving forward if and when those mistakes happen.