Failure, unfortunately, is inevitable.
You could be at the top of your field, publishing articles, blogs, and dissertations that millions of people are reading. You could be managing a team of ten thousand, standing at the front lines of your company in authority and strength. You could even be the CEO of the fastest-growing startup in the world. But you’ll still face failure at some point.
It’s time to stop thinking that you’re only successful when you’re perfect—perfection is an allusion.
Being the best person, employee, boss, mentor, businesswoman, CEO, daughter, sister, friend etc. is about being the best that YOU personally can be. And it’s about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and continuing when you fall.
Because you will, and that’s okay.
Here are six small tips for bouncing back after failure.
1. Stop foolishly believing you’re the only one who’s failed.
Above all, you have to get rid of the idea that you’re the only one in the world who’s failed at growing a company, driving revenue, writing articles, publishing a book, ____ etc. (fill in the blank for anything that relates to you).
There are millions of people, every single day, who are messing up. In fact, you can pick up any successful person’s memoir, and guaranteed, that person has a story in there about failure.
What they won’t have, though, is a story about giving up.
2. Remember that failure is a part of the process.
Honestly, failure is normal. If you could do anything and everything you wanted with trial and error or practice, you’d be superhuman. But you aren’t, and you aren’t expected to be!
Life is about figuring out who you are—a lot of that comes from falling flat on your face.
When you try something new, you probably not going to be good at it at first. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the potential to be, it just means you need to keep working at it.
Think of the professional athletes or actor/actresses you follow on social media. Do you really believe they were born with natural talent? Sure, they may have had some skills since birth, but the reason they are where they are is because of dedication, hard work, and a whole lot of adversity they overcame along the way.
3. Seek advice and encouragement from a mentor or trusted professional in your field.
When you fail, it’s easy to retreat and want to isolate yourself.
You’re embarrassed, frustrated, and maybe even dealing with feelings of depression. (Which are human and valid, by the way.) However, the ironic, yet most important thing for you to do in this situation is to reach out to people that you trust.
A support system is essential for growth, regardless of what you do or what your industry is. When you have a network of people who care about your personal and professional success, you are encouraged—even if and when you fail.
In the wake of failure, reach out to those people you trust. Seek encouragement and advice, and be willing to listen because oftentimes they have insight from being in your shoes before.
4. Be honest and accountable for what you did/didn’t do.
In order to bounce back after failure, you have to hold yourself accountable for the things you have/haven’t done, especially if they affect others in some way.
Sometimes even our harmless decisions can have a huge impact. Be aware of the consequences of your actions (especially in our highly digital world!) and ways they can hurt others. Be sure to apologize and make amends.
5. Create new opportunities for yourself, rather than focusing on shortcomings.
Choose to focus on the ways you will improve and grow rather than the ways you’ve failed.
When you shift your attention on what you’ll do next, you can learn to let go of the past. This will help you see mistakes as lessons, rather than barriers to your growth.
6. Correct any and all mistakes (if possible) and move on.
You can’t cling to the past, as awful as the moment or situation may be.
Although this sounds similar to being accountable (#4) it’s important to not only apologize and make amends but to fix your wrongs (when applicable). This shows that you’re taking full responsibility for what you can control, which is all you can do in the wake of failure.
After this, you have to commit to moving on.
It’s not about where you are, it’s about where you’ll go next.