How to Deal with Failure

As much as we’d like to succeed at everything, sometimes failure is inevitable. Think about the number of people who failed at first, but later succeeded. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, Oprah Winfrey, Beethoven and Michael Jordan have all known their share of failures.

Understanding how to deal with failure is just as important as succeeding. Indeed, how we handle failure is often an indication of whether or not we will succeed in the end. So, before you decide that one challenge means the end of the world, consider how you can turn failure into your next chance to succeed.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first thing you need to do is to acknowledge your feelings. When feel disappointed at your failure, it’s alright to recognize those feelings. Get your feelings out there. If you have someone to talk to, speak with him or her about your feelings. Spend some time with friends and family who encourage you and help you feel good about yourself. Realize, though, that acknowledging your disappointment is just a brief stopping point. Wallowing in misery and self-pity for an extended period won’t help you get back out there and succeed.

Look for the Lesson

In many cases, there are lessons to be learned in failure. Look for the lesson that you can learn from this disappointment. Could you have studied more? Do you need to tweak your business plan? Would a different approach work? Another consideration is that, perhaps, you should gravitate toward something you are good at. Find something you enjoy, and that you have a basic foundation of knowledge in, and concentrate on that.

Stick With It

Sometimes, you just need to stick with something. When I first started freelance writing online, I was turned down for a number of jobs. Sometimes, I was only able to get low-paying jobs. It was very frustrating for a little while. I felt like a failure, and I was worried that I would never make enough to support my family while my husband finished school. However, I stuck with the writing, continued to network, and was fortunate enough to eventually find work with some great people. Sticking with it wasn’t easy, but in the end, things worked out.

Celebrate the Victories

A little celebration can go a long way. When you find success, make sure you celebrate it in some way. It doesn’t have to be a huge party; you can celebrate with a small reward. Get a new book, go out to dinner, or allow yourself an evening of relaxation. There are a number of ways that you can mark your successes. Remember that without failure, success wouldn’t seem as sweet — and you wouldn’t learn and grow as much.

In many cases, failure is simply a stepping stone on the way to success. View your failures as a lessons to be learned, or indications that you need to head in a new direction. Research your alternatives, and figure out what you can do next. Most important: Don’t let a failure scare you into never trying again.

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