BLOG_2020_10_08 How well do you handle failure

How Well Do You Handle Failure?

8 OCTOBER 2020

Because we are human, we cannot help but fail. We make mistakes at work or in developing our businesses. We lose relationships. We parent in ways we later regret. We fail to win or succeed at all we do. How we handle these failures makes all the difference in the world in how we utilize our ability to learn and be effective in our work and personal lives.

Take the Self-Quiz below to see how you tend to handle failure.

Mark each statement as True, or False

Set 1

1. I make realistic (safe) choices about what to do. If I’m unsure whether I can succeed at something, I don’t do it.

2. I feel so ashamed after losing a job that I can’t bear to see colleagues from that workplace again.

3. If I fail at something, I give up and take it as evidence that I’m not “meant” to do that. I don’t see the point in trying again; it’s a waste of energy.  I’m better off doing something else.

4. I gave up thinking about what I want long ago, because I know I’m never going to get it.

5. I’m better off by myself; experience proves that I’m a failure at relationships. Why bother going out to meet new people.

6. I act as though failure means nothing to me. I don’t want people to see my pain and humiliation. It’s too embarrassing

7. Failure does nothing but point out my deficiencies and flaws. I do everything I can to avoid it.

Set 2

1. I work hard on self-forgiveness after failing at something. I replace “if only…” with “next time…” so that I keep focused on the future.

2. I know what I want, and no failure will stop me from getting there.

3. I expect to make mistakes. I incorporate the possibility for failure into everything I do so that I’m not devastated when it happens.

4. I may feel inferior and humbled when I fail, but I use that to point the way to where I need to change or grow.

5. I try to see the humor in a situation. It helps me accept failure with more grace and self-acceptance.

6. If I’ve made a mistake, I take responsibility for it and work to fix it. Guilt doesn’t become part of the equation.

7. Rather than beat myself up for failing, I get curious. I reflect on the experience and ask myself questions such as: What have I learned and gained? How can this failure serve me? What am I really trying to accomplish? How can I do it better next time?

If you answered true to more questions in Set 1 than in Set 2, you may be missing excellent opportunities to learn from your mistakes, improve your feelings about yourself and live more courageously.

These lessons allow us to retain hope and the instinct for joy and make us better prepared for life’s journey. Please contact me if you’d like to explore your response to failure.

Challenge Questions...

Identify a time when you failed or were deeply disappointed in a result.

  1. What did you learn from that situation? 
  2. Was it a gift or opportunity? 
  3. Would you be where you are today without that lesson?

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