The ability to bounce back from failure is in the DNA of successful professionals and entrepreneurs, many of whose careers have been littered with setbacks at every stage.
Failure is cyclical. It will happen again and again in your career — even in the midst of successful projects — and your ability to quickly accept and push on from failure will define your career.
If you want to be successful in business — be that as an employee or an entrepreneur — you’ll need to know how to get back up when you’ve fallen off the proverbial horse. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Find the Humor in Failure
One of the most powerful remedies to the pain of failure is humor. In the book Emotional First Aid, author and psychologist Guy Winch cites studies that show that being able to see humor in a failure is an effective way of getting over shame and embarrassment.
And the benefits of humor for the ambitious did not stop there: An ability to see the “funny side of failure” can also reduce stress in future endeavors.
By putting our fears in the form of jokes, we take control of them and prevent our subconscious minds from running amok in self-defeating ways.
2. Watch a Motivational Movie
It can’t really be that easy, can it? I think it is. There are hundreds of inspiring TED talks and similar videos out there that can help life you up when you’re down.
Personally, I find this particular video to be a great Monday-morning watch:
You can also use it any time you need to inspire yourself after a nasty setback.
3. See Failure As an Opportunity
Henry Ford, one of the many thousands of successful entrepreneurs who dealt with failure, once said that “[f]ailure is simply and opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Entrepreneurs like Ford view failure differently from the average person, who sees it as the end of the road. Instead, entrepreneurs see failure as a crossroads with many options ahead. They don’t go blundering in the same direction they came from, either: They learn from their mistakes and correct their courses accordingly.
If you want to bounce back from failure, you’d do well to mimic this mindset.
It’s vital that you have a sustainable approach to dealing with failure if you want to be a happy, engage, and energized achiever, rather than a bitter and twisted casualty of the corporate (or entrepreneurial) career ladder.
It is also worth pointing out that you don’t have to reach for the stars and risk disappointment at all. You can just plod along happily in life with low, achievable expectations. Believe it or not, studies show that plodders are less stressed and more satisfied with their achievements than ambitious high achievers. They also live longer and are just as happy as high achievers.
It can be easy to pour scorn on low achievers, but they serve a useful purpose: They make needed space on the already overcrowded career-ladder. Who wants an office completely full of bitter, overworked burnouts?