17 Aug How to Come Back After Failure in Your Career
It is thought that the most common negative belief that the average person has about themselves is that they are a failure. When someone who has this belief has experiences in life that are consistent with this theme, it reinforces that the belief is true.
Some of the most successful people have had many failures in their lives, but the one thing that sets them apart is their reaction to failure. Failure sucks and sometimes it is through no fault of your own. It can knock the wind out of your sails and make you feel like giving up, but in truth, you have control over how you react to it.
Michael Jordan once said: “I missed more than 9000 shots, lost 300 games, missed 26 game-winning opportunities the team trusted me with .… I have failed over and over and over in my life .…” Would you consider him as a “failure?” Of course not. He is arguably the best player to ever grace the basketball court.
So here’s how to come back after failure in your career and keep on going…
Realise where you went wrong
Take a look at the failure and try to assess where you went wrong, but don’t beat yourself up about it. What are you doing (or not doing) to cause the failure. The key is to look at the mistakes you’ve made, and figure out the pattern behind it.
For example, do you pursue a business idea without really doing the proper research? Do you have a tendency to give up on things when they’re not going your way? Do you run away from problems, instead of tackling them head on? Once you’ve identified the real problem, it’ll be easier to move forward.
Do you have a fear of failure, or a fear of success?
It could be that you have a fear of success, not a fear of failure. Sometimes it’s easy to blame external factors on why you’re not a famous actor or a successful entrepreneur. But the truth is, do you really want success? Or are you looking actively looking for ways to fail because it fits within the narrative you’ve taught yourself ie. that you are a failure and will always fail?
Because really if you fail, what’s the worst that could happen? Success is the part that is scary because it involves change. It can get feel incredibly comfortable to stay in the position that you are in, especially if you have a roof over your head and you’re not out on the streets. But it takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and do something different.
Get back up, and keep getting back up
Give yourself time to meditate, but get straight back on the horse. Life is a struggle sometimes, and you have to keep working for what you want. I like to imagine a movie scene, where I am a robot and someone is shooting at me over and over again, but I keep walking forwards.
You have to learn to be resilient and determined and to keep throwing yourself into work. The moment you stop and let yourself feel negative thoughts about the situation, then that’s when you start feeling like a failure.
Don’t be the victim
When you fail it’s really easy to play the victim. For example, you could say:
“I didn’t get the part in the play because the other person new the director”
“I just didn’t get my lucky break like that person did”
Now in reality, it could be that you weren’t right for the part, and someone else acted better than you. Don’t play the victim – instead look at where you could do better. If you consistently work hard at it, and prepare yourself for setbacks, then you will eventually have success. What you think of as ‘failure’ may not even be a failure. It may be that you’ve just encountered a difficulty on the way to success.
Don’t wait for change
Many people sit about and wait for change. They hope that they’ll win the lottery or a new job offer will come along. In reality, change comes from the actions we take. You can read all the self-help books under the sun, but it’s no good if you’re not doing something about it.
If you haven’t figured out what you want, then it’s time to look at what makes you truly happy. Yes you might have the idea that you’ve always wanted to be President of the United States. But do you actually love politics or do you just like the idea of being important? The best thing to do is look at what you enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to be something major, but if you like doing it, you can at least be consistent with it.
Learn to be realistic
It’s good to be optimistic, but being blindly optimistic means you’re so much more disappointed when it doesn’t happen. The failure hits you much harder, making you feel much worse. Whenever you start a new venture or project, be realistic with time frames and what you can achieve. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”…
Too many people start something and then fail to see it through because they want the results to come immediately. When that doesn’t happen, they give up and quit before things get good. Don’t let that be you.
See the silver lining
I was once fired from a 9 to 5 job. In reality I enjoyed going into the office, but I hated the job. I felt like I wasn’t appreciated and my managers were constantly picking on me. Being fired and told to clear my desk was heartbreaking, but after a couple of days wallowing in my bedroom in tears, I finally realised that this was the best thing that ever happened to me. It meant I could go back to being self employed and focusing on my own projects. It was super scary at the time having no regular salary, but it was definitely the best thing for me.
Perhaps you applied for a job and didn’t make the cut. Yes it might suck to be rejected, but was your heart really in that job in the first place? Look for the silver lining…there usually is one.
Failure involved two paths really. The one path leads to depression, self-pity and self-destruction. The other path leads to optimism, change and adventure. The key is learning how to come back after failure feeling hungrier than ever before. Failure is inevitable when you’re trying to achieve something, but it’s better to try to achieve it than never try at all.