We all have to face failure at some point in our life, whether it’s related to our careers, our relationships, our finances, or anything else. But experiencing failure, again and again, doesn’t necessarily make it easier to deal with.
In this article, I want to share with you my own personal experience with failure and give you some tips to help you navigate it better.
My personal experience
A few months ago, I quit my job with no savings and hardly any plan and decided to start my own business.
A few months later, I realized that I failed in my endeavor and I had to start looking for jobs again.
To be completely honest, I didn’t take my failure very well. I took it very personally and made it mean so many things about me.
I made it mean that:
1-I always start things and don’t finish them.
This belief has been engraved in my subconscious and has been confirmed by many events in my life.
After all, I usually do end up quitting things: I dropped out of school. I always stopped my yoga practice before I could do the splits. And this time, I did almost everything needed to launch a business and ended up not launching it.
2-The problem was me.
Not my job, not my family situation, not the lack of time. The problem was me.
I’ve always blamed my previous job for so many things: it made me anxious, it took most of my time, it made me exhausted physically and mentally…and while all of these things were true, my job wasn’t to blame for everything.
I was quite surprised -and highly disappointed- when I still managed to fail despite having no job anymore and all the time in the world to do what it takes to succeed.
3-Success is an exception, not a rule.
This goes against everything I was trying to preach and practice. I truly believed that success was easy, granted, and available to everyone. But I was brought back to reality by the limitations of my situation.
The fact that I failed meant that success wasn’t inevitable as all those life coaches like to say. After my failure, I believed that success was a luxury that I couldn’t afford.
When you fail, you tend to stay in denial for as long as possible. You try to fix things and “make it happen”. You make yourself believe that your long-awaited success is just around the corner. Or at least that’s what I did.
It was very hard for me to realize that I was failing.
I was neck-deep into New Age beliefs and those tell you that you have to keep the vision in your mind and feel it in your heart until it manifests into your reality.
And so, I held on tight to that vision and refused to even consider that I was failing. But for the logical side of me, it was clear that I was.
Denial is a truly funny state to be in. You know what is true and yet you completely reject that reality, as if rejecting it hard enough would change the facts.
My journey from denial to acceptance was long and rocky. But I want you to learn from my experience and deal with failure better than I have.
You have failed, now what?
The faster you accept it, the easier it will be.
Try not to stay in denial for too long. I know it’s hard to accept that you have failed. But it will be an even bigger loss if you keep wasting your time, energy, and probably money is a ship that’s already sinking.
I’m not saying don’t believe in your dreams and don’t keep pushing forward, but it’s essential to be clear-headed about your situation or have someone give you honest feedback about your progress.
Take a break, you probably need it.
If you have failed at something, chances are you’ve been working so hard on it. Before you even think about trying to fix things or completely changing directions, give yourself a break.
You can’t move on to the next thing when you’re still saturated from your previous experience. Avoid making wrong decisions and feeling burned out by taking a break of a few days -or weeks, if that’s what you need.
Focus on your own wellbeing.
Oftentimes, failing comes not from working too little but from working too much. When you hit rock bottom, it’s time to forget about your goals for a while and totally focus on yourself.
Prioritize your physical and mental health and do the things that bring you joy.
Get enough quality sleep. Eat food that makes you feel good and energized. Dance and sing. Take long walks and hot baths. Read books that inspire and entertain you (tip: avoid self-help books, opt for novels and poetry).
Assess and redirect.
Now it’s time to reflect on what happened and where you want to take it next.
The good thing about doing this step after taking a break and focusing on yourself is that you have more mental space and clarity. Your vision is not clouded by disappointment and self-pity and you can have a clear assessment of the situation.
Don’t let this be an occasion to be hard on yourself. The point here is to simply identify what went wrong and decide what to do about it.
It’s okay to fall back.
I know that there are things you would rather not have to do again. I know that when I failed in my business endeavors, I hated the idea of building a CV and going back to working at a call center.
I know that you might not want to go back to living with your parents or working a 9-to-5 job. I know that you would rather not lower the quality of your life. But these things might be necessary.
Learn to be okay with going back to a less favorable situation. As much as we want it to be, life is not always moving forward. Improvement isn’t linear. You win some, you lose some. That is the game of life.
When you look at it from a logical perspective, failure is a great teacher. It shows you what wasn’t functioning well and pushes you to be more creative with your solutions.
The more you fail, the better you become at whatever you failed at.
If there’s one important thing that you should keep in mind while navigating failure, it’s this: failure doesn’t define you. It doesn’t mean anything about you. Just because you have failed doesn’t mean that you are a failure. You are worthy and capable of achieving great things.
You got this!
Want to know how to start transforming your life one small step at a time? Read my article 9 Things You Can Do To Start Transforming Your Life.
Cover photo by Abbat via Unsplash