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How to Overcome Failure and Use It as Motivation

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Pulling yourself together after a failed project, job, or experience of any kind can prove daunting. It may compel you to stay in bed all day re-watching The Office for the 200th time. But as great a day as that sounds, it is not the best way to handle failure. It’s daft to believe you will get through life without making mistakes. Failure doesn’t define someone; it’s how they manage that failure and pull themselves out of the dirt that truly reflects someone’s character.

Understanding What Went Wrong

Before you’re ready to move on and learn from your mistakes, you need to comprehend exactly what caused the errors. An essential part of this process is checking your ego at the door, and wholesomely analyzing the situation from an outside perspective. Be honest with yourself and leave no wiggle room for excuses.

Did you legitimately try your hardest? Did you utilize all resources at your disposal? Can you confidently tell yourself the results reflect your work ethic? These are questions that must be focused on. If you can’t comprehend the faults of your work, you’ll never be able to improve your flow.

“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 have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling

Get by with a little help from your friends

Despite popular belief (or personal experience), friends aren’t just around to laugh at your poor decisions. Friends can give you that perfect concoction of comedic relief and real-world advice. Most importantly, they’ll tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear.

I know a lot of folks who like to try and handle setbacks on their own. For some this might work, but it’s never a bad idea to gain outside perspectives from the people you trust. Even when you’re driving, you depend on those mirrors to check your blind spots. Let your friends be your mirrors checking the blind spots of your ambitions. A righteous filter for your coffee.

Just as you have done for them a million times; your friends will be more than happy to help when you find yourself stuck in a foul groove. Your friends will help you…if you let them.

Positively Receive Constructive Feedback

Hearing harsh criticism about your work can be unmotivating, and even frustrating. But what good is it to have a strong support network if you just get offended by the advice? Rebounding from failure isn’t just about friends cheering you up, it’s also about taking responsibility and owning up to why it failed in the first place.

Even if your project hasn’t failed, you should always be open to constructive criticism. You should constantly strive to continuously improve yourself, and sometimes that means rolling with the punches. It’s not easy and does take a bit of mental practice but trust me friend, it’s well worth it in the end.

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for honest feedback. It’s too easy to get our heads wrapped around a personal endeavor that we tend to view through rose colored glasses. People will be willing to help you, but you must be willing to be helped.

Keep Dribbling the Ball

What happens when you drop a basketball? Well it bounces back up. But every time it bounces, it becomes lower and lower until it settles on the ground. But if you keep dribbling the ball, it will keep coming back. Hell, depending on how hard you bounce it, it can go even higher.

My point is you need to keep dribbling. You must keep bouncing that ball to keep it coming back, because if you don’t it’s just going to stop, and sit there doing nothing. Even if you don’t yet know how you will resolve the failed task, keep moving! Go for a run, clean your apartment, organize your workspace. Do something, anything that will be productive in any manner. The only thing worse than failure is deliberately destroying your momentum.

Keep the gears turning and continue pumping those juices into your noggin. Remember that movie with the fish? “just keep swimming just keep swimming”, yeah it’s like that.

“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” – Eloise Ristad

Failure…Yeah, it’s Going to Happen

I know every motivational speaker and their mother has said this before, but you can’t be afraid to fail. It’s overstated but holds merit. If you ask me, failure doesn’t mean you failed (just stay with me for a sec), It means you were brave enough to try something new and take a leap.

Failure is unfortunately part of the process. It’s how you get better at things. You want to know what REAL failure is? Being afraid of it so much that you refuse to step out of your comfort zone. You need to accept that it WILL happen, and not even just once. Be persistent in your mindset and keep trudging through until you achieve results.

Do you think Tony Hawk came out of the womb doing kickflips and pop shuvits? Of course not. But after hundreds of knee scrapes and jammed joints, he became a master. I’m going to leave you with a quote that really speaks to me: “The master has failed more times than the apprentice has even attempted.” Stay persistent, work hard, and trust yourself.

DJ Jeffries is an entrepreneur and the founder of Led2Win.com. He is also an HR consultant, focusing on HR systems, learning and development, and diversity and inclusion. His writing has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, ThriveGlobal.com, and TalentCulture.com. You can find him on the Led2Win website and, at times, on Twitter.

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