Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes When Dealing With Failure

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Have you failed recently and thought of giving up?

Well don’t.

Whatever it is you’re doing, failure is an inevitability in life. And no one likes it. 

But don’t get stuck in it, don’t allow your fear to limit your ability to succeed.

I fail at stuff all the time. 

I fail at some of the things I write about some of the time and it sucks.

I feel just as awful about it as anyone else.  But sooner or later I get back on my feet and try again.

I fail at healthy eating some days.

But tomorrow I go for it again.

I fail at being more disciplined.

But then I get back on that horse and try new techniques to keep me focused.

There’s always a way out, a way through any setbacks or obstacles, you just haven’t found it yet. You can dig yourself out of where you are, or ditch that plan and start a new one. Whatever you decide to do, what you don’t do is give up on your dreams. That would be your first mistake when dealing with failure.

I don’t have the one big secret that prevents failure. And nor does anyone else, but here’s 5 mistakes you don’t want to make when failure strikes.

1. Focus on excuses

It’s not the failure that’s the problem, the greatest minds, the greatest inventors, the greatest athletes of all time failed their way to success. 

What they had that we don’t always have is a different response to failure. No excuses. No beating themselves up.  No wasting time on all the reasons things didn’t work out. Remember you are not your failure. Don’t waste your time being upset about something that’s over and done, let go of the desire to explain to yourself or to others.

 

2. React Badly

Instead of viewing failure as a loss use it to build upon the lessons learned. Neuroscience tells us that learning and building from failures means we won’t feel so badly about them. Reframe the failure as a chance to grow, an opportunity to see things in a different light. 

Regard failure as the worst thing in the world and for you, and it becomes just that. Shifting your perspective will open different options and feel so much better than focusing on why the whole failure thing sucks.

3. Feeling unhappy

Those who can most successfully get themselves up off the mat are the ones who define themselves not by what has happened to them, but by what they can make out of what has happened. Feeling unhappy about it means your attention is in the wrong place.

Use adversity to find the path forward. Practice the onward and upward method….never forgetting that early failure often is the fuel for the very ideas that transform industries, make record profits, and reinvent careers.

Some great failures were The Beatles who were turned away by a recording company because their style was outdated. Or Walt Disney who was fired for not being creative enough.  If you’ve failed at something, be happy for the company you keep!

4. Going it alone

No one succeeds alone in this life. When I’m struggling with something I can either give up or work out a better way. And when I can’t work out a better way I reach out to my husband, friends, and people whose opinions I trust or experts.

Think of it this way, ‘writers have editors, surgeons have the support of nurses and presidents have aides.’ I might get obvious advice that I couldn’t see, or brilliant ideas to move in a different direction. Any success anyone has had, is almost always because someone else supported their dream. Allow someone the privilege to be there for you.

5. Dwelling on negative self-fulfilling prophecies

Train your mind to think thoughts of success, happiness, health and prosperity.  When you make sure that your habit of thinking is based upon what you want to see happen in your life you’ll have less room for thinking thoughts that lead to defeat.

Your mindset is the foundation for your success and happiness. Learn from failure, don’t regret it. Because it’s made you stronger and better equipped to begin again. Remember hope or despair turn out to be self-fulfilling prophecies.

Spiritually speaking

Failure brings with it many gifts that aren’t always obvious. If some misfortune has befallen you recently, take the opportunity to look at all the little things you have to be grateful for. Look for the benefits that failure is giving you. Turn it into an opportunity to develop more compassion and understanding for yourself and others.

Learn to see failure as an adventure that’s serving your growth and development and you’ll start to view life working for you and not against you.

Over to you…have you been missing the gifts that failure has on offer? Or have you found ways to get through the setbacks and obstacles in life? We’d all love to hear anything you have to say about dealing with failure. Please do leave your wisdom in the comments below.

Encourage one another

Love Elle

P.S  If you have a friend, client or colleague who gets overwhelmed by failure, please share this post. It may be exactly what they need to support them in moving forward in the easiest, most positive way.

ElleSommer
Elle Sommer is the author and founder of Live Purposefully Now, a website focused on sharing the insights and ancient wisdom that have collectively changed her life, in the desire to make a meaningful impact on yours. Trained at Coach U and having completed a year long training with Bob Proctor, her mission is to encourage and inspire others to build the business, relationships and life they want. Get your free instant access to Success Simplified ebook and get the tips, techniques and secrets of successfully living the life you want.
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16 Comments

  • Hi Elle,

    Thank you for sharing. I have struggled with my thoughts about failure. I am going to start remembering what you say about it…

    “Learn to see failure as an adventure that’s serving your growth and development and you’ll start to view life working for you and not against you.”

    I pray I can do this. Thank you Elle.

    • It’s amazing how when we choose to see something differently, we end up with different results. It’s a simple strategy, but not always easy to train our mind to focus where we want it to. But I know you can do it. 🙂

  • Hi Elle,

    I have gotten overwhelmed in the past when a particular project didn’t work out and then I just kind of gave up on moving forward. I’ve gotten past that now, but I do sometimes feel like giving up when I feel overwhelmed. I really like your encouragement to maintain composure in the face of failure as it’s the best way forward.

    • You always put things so well and wisely Sandra. Maintain composure in the face of failure…love that phrase. I suppose as always, it boils down to faith and belief. 🙂

  • Some great tips here, Elle. I especially like:

    Instead of viewing failure as a loss use it to build upon the lessons learned. Neuroscience tells us that learning and building from failures means we won’t feel so badly about them. Reframe the failure as a chance to grow, an opportunity to see things in a different light.

    Failure is not even “failure” in my opinion anymore. It’s just part of the process of getting there. Wherever “there is. 🙂

  • Hi Elle, another beautiful post. I failed in some aspects of life specifically love, but I’ve learned a lot from it that made me stronger and wiser. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for sharing this Elle. I try hard not to have regret in my life, but I’m sometimes not so good at the ‘not going it alone’ part. I want to reach out more and connect with other amazing people who can support me when something I experiment with doesn’t work out 🙂

    • You are such a go=-getter Ellen and think how much easier life would be and how much further you might go with a little help from your friends. And having said that, I’m not always so good at this either, but getting better with practice. 🙂

  • For me, when I end up at a dead end I simply turn around and look for another avenue. When things don’t work out the way I planned or hoped I like to examine how I might have done it differently but don’t let it pull me down. I see all of life as an opportunity for learning and growing – all of it. This article is so encouraging and I have a number of clients who can really be helped by these encouraging words. Thank you for writing this!

    • Love your outlook on life Lynn Louise. It’s so positive and upbeat and I’d bet you make a huge difference in the life of your clients and friends. 🙂

  • Great tips here, Elle. Failure can seem overwhelming at times. I try and have a positive outlook, by realizing that failure is part of the process to success. I love this line, “Learn from failure, don’t regret it.” Some of my greatest insights have come from my failures. Thank you for the wonderful reminders here.

    • So true Cathy…it’s not the easiest thing in the world to view failure as anything other than something horrible…but deciding to see it differently and keep deciding to make failure work for you and eventually you begin to accept the benefits, as you say viewing it as part of the process of success. Great thoughts. 🙂

  • Hi Elle; Thanks for yet another wonderfully inspiring post. I like to say that making mistakes isn’t the worst thing that can happen being afraid to make them is. and i agree people need to ask for help more. this is why i share this message every chance i get that being that when you refuse to ask for help you rob the other person of the joy that comes from helping another person. so don’t think about it from your point of view think about it from theirs. love your posts, max

    • Well hello Max…I’ve missed you and your insights. This one is especially helpful…the idea that we rob another of the chance to feel joy by helping out. Love this. 🙂

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