I know an amazing woman – a hilarious, humble, supportive, great friend. An incredibly successful woman owner of a multi-million-pound business, who is also a wife and mother of 2 teenagers. We were recently reflecting on her amazing business achievements and I asked her the secret of her success. Her answer surprised me.
“Failure”, she said emphatically. "I have failed more times than I care to remember on this journey to success. At times, I couldn’t pay the mortgage and was literally rummaging through the bottom of handbags to find enough money to pay for the kids’ school lunches. But somehow, after every failure, I learnt an important lesson and gained some really important knowledge on how to do things differently next time. So I picked myself up, dusted myself down and got on with it".
Listening to her experiences revealed some key tips for dealing with failure:
Anticipate and own your mistakes
Bumps along the road are normal. Accept that things will not always go smoothly and always try to anticipate the likely worst case scenario so you can try to mitigate against it, or at least not be devastated by it if it happens. Don’t play the blame game. Own the mistakes you’ve made, learn from them and plan onwards.
Don’t worry about what others think about you
Those that judge most are the least likely to have any appreciation or understanding of what you’ve been through - so don’t place any value on their judgements.
Remain calm and rational
Easier said than done – but no good decisions come from a place of extreme emotion. Ride out the disappointment, anger and blame before making any key decisions.
Build your support network
Don’t cut yourself off from other successful people out of embarrassment. Surround yourself with relationships that will motivate you, help you and people that act as a great sounding board. Chances are these individuals will have experienced failure along the way too. Talk it through, verbalise your situation and embrace any advice.
If you have time on your hands – so use it wisely. Invest in yourself. There are so many free resources available – webinars, training events, networking opportunities. Start advancing by opening up your mind to new ideas and fresh perspectives to nourish you as you move forward.
Set some goals
Whether for work, learning, family or leisure – have some goals so that you feel you are continuously moving towards something positive.
Remember, don’t let your future be defined by your current fear – let your commitment and response to the present situation enhance your future.
As my wise fiend summarised: “Sometimes the greatest gifts don’t come wrapped in the prettiest paper – failure is often the gift”.
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