How to Look Failure in the Eye and Wink
By Sandy Schroeder
Some failures really are inevitable in life. No matter how sure-footed you are, there are bound to be a few missteps along the way. The only real mistake is letting failure shut you down.
One of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein says it all: “You never fail, until you stop trying.”
Dr. Roopleen, eye surgeon, author, and motivational counselor, focused on failure recently in DumbLittleMan.com, telling all of us to waste no time in bouncing back from failure.
Don’t look for excuses – Step up and acknowledge what happened. Some people become very adept at pointing the finger at someone else when failure occurs. Avoid that negative path at all costs. People who do that usually get paid back.
Look failure in the eye – No matter how crushing it may seem, it is crucial to face what happened. When you do that, you take away some of failure’s power, and you can learn from the mistake.
Figure out what happened – Dissect the failure to learn from it. Einstein may have also said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” After a failure, as we pick up the pieces, it is tempting to just run it up the flagpole again. Instead, spend the time to figure out what happened and fix it.
Step away and move forward – If your failure was major, it can be all too easy to dwell on it, but realistically the best course is to briefly analyze it and then head off in new directions. Endless replaying of the event is a recipe for inactivity and depression.
I worked with a major player in the healthcare field who knew just how to do this. He built an empire, and was often challenged, but he never let it take him down. Amidst his triumphs there were a few glitches, but he never stopped smiling, or hesitated. His tenacity and ongoing efforts helped numerous people build successful careers. He was an inspiration for many people.
Create springboards for the future – You really have two choices: Let failure set a negative pace, or use it as a springboard for what you want to do next. I have watched people take both paths. Some hit the wall with projects that were important to them, and they simply forgot to rebound. They kept on working, but it was never the same. Others took a nosedive with equally crucial projects. They picked themselves up and started looking for the next opportunity. Those people often scored big, finding the right formula and relishing success.
Wherever you are with the question of failure, know who you are, and use those assets to turn things around.
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