How to Overcome Failure in Life… and Business

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There is a misnomer that successful people fail less often than average people, but I think they fail as often (if not more because they generally take more risks) and are simply better at recovering when something doesn’t work out.


Back in my early career I did a lot of cold calling. I remember my cold calling coach saying what separated the great cold callers from the average was how quickly you picked up the phone after a scathing rejection. Those who could be called every name in the book and then take a deep breath and go right into dialing another number with charm and grace were the winners. I feel that is a good metaphor for life.

Here are some other insights about failure that may be helpful.

 

Failure doesn’t define who you are

When a baby falls while it is learning to walk we don’t call it the “faller” for the rest of its life. Why do we call ourselves a “failure” when something new we have tried, or something different we are working on flops? 

We don’t define others by their worst moment and we shouldn’t define ourselves that way either.

 

Start looking at failure as a part of the human experience

Failures open doors and create opportunities. I lost when I ran for state legislature and it was a very public defeat, but I never would have started our business Anequim if I had been a successful politician. Not winning was, in fact, one of the best things that ever happened to me. Failure is part of the learning process of life. Feel all the feelings and give yourself time to grieve, but don’t sit in that.

Growth is always uncomfortable, it always involves doing something you are not used to, therefore, getting into the “failure zone”. Getting comfortable with crossing the line into the failure zone is what is going to help you to really do something interesting and to have a fascinating life.

 

Use failure as information

Loses are the information that you use for your successes. One needs little losses because they are a source of learning. These learnings will make you wiser and stronger to try bigger goals. 

 

Think of how people you care about really think about that failure of yours

People of value will not define you by your failures. More often, they’ll see you as someone courageous and brave enough to try something they could fail at. People that add positive stuff to your life have walked the path of failure and will look up to you for doing the same.

 

Talk to yourself nicely

Listen to how you talk to yourself inside your head. If someone talked to you the way you do to you after a failure, what would you think of that person? Don’t allow your inner voice to speak to yourself like your worst enemy. Remember: you shouldn’t judge yourself by your worst failures and other people by their biggest successes.

 

Gwenn’s Short Take

Failure is part of the learning process of life and it can be a door opening to new opportunities. What will make your life and business more fascinating is adventuring into the failure zone and, if there is a loss, use the information from that experience in your favor. 

 

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