We live in a culture that celebrates success above all else. Achievement and accumulation has become how we measure the value of each person’s life. This in turn drives people to do more and want more. But what do you do when even with your best efforts, you fail? What if you lose the big sale, let your team down or have to close down your business? What if you get fired or get passed up for a promotion? I can tell you that I have failed so many times in my life that this is a topic I know a little something about.
There are three keys to bounce back from epic failure – desire, discipline and determination. When you have those no-one can stop you. ~ Narges Nirumvala
Over the years I realized that there is an optimal way of dealing with failure and a way of channeling it into even greater success in the future. So I thought I would write it down and share it with you in a post. Here are the four steps I usually go through when I experience a failure or setback:
1. Take It VERY Personally.
Most people say “Don’t take it personally” or “Brush it off and move on”. Both do NOT work I can tell you from personal experience. DO take it personally. Cry, scream, shout, whatever you have to do, just don’t be a nuisance to your family, your team or society. Let failure fuel you.
If like me you’re driven by passion and love what you do, then every lost sale hurts, because you know there’s one less person or organization that you can help. It also hurts because failure takes just as much effort as success and no-one ever talks about that.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
2. Find Your Inner Strength.
Once you have drained your emotional tank, you will find a new confidence by knowing you made it through the proverbial tunnel. You’ll find out who you really are.
This is where growth begins and character develops. If you never fail you never grow. If you never fail, then you never know how good it feels to succeed. You need the lows to understand the highs.
Failure scars your soul in a way that makes your skin thicker, your heart stronger and your will to succeed greater than before. ~ Narges Nirumvala
3. Innovate, Rebuild and Retool.
So why didn’t it work? Why did you fail? What can you do better in the future? Learn from the experience. Put all emotion aside and plug in your analytical brain. Find an innovative solution to what you want to achieve or even start again and rebuild from the ground up.
4. Try Again and Keep Moving Forward.
The cycle continues with step 4 because you must try again. That means you could fail again and if you’re anything like me, you probably will. Do it anyway.
Keep going for the destiny you want to create for yourself. Keep going for the dreams you want to realize for you and your organization. It doesn’t matter if you move as slowly as a snail, you must keep moving forward.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ~ Calvin Coolidge
One final point, determination is a beautiful quality in theory, but in practice it’s much more difficult. You must force yourself to keep going even when logic says you should not. You must force yourself to keep going even when every ounce of sweat has been drained out of you. Think of the person you want to become and don’t give up on yourself.
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination. ~ Tommy Lasorda
Six years ago I couldn’t even get a minimum wage job. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die, but I didn’t. I built my company and my reputation from nothing, with nothing, but my will power and a gift for communication. I wanted to prove all the companies that rejected me wrong. I wanted to show them what I was capable of. Not the best motivation I know, but it’s the truth. Today I am blessed to work with executives and leadership teams from all over the world and help them in a way that no-one else can. I have achieved more than I ever thought was possible. Failure can be a gift. It is destiny pushing you through the door of greatness, because the more you fail, the greater your opportunity for epic success. Just keep holding on and never give up.
Narges Nirumvala is the CEO of ExecutiveSpeak Coaching International and a world-renowned leadership communication expert. Dubbed ‘The Secret Weapon’ by one journalist, she is an international keynote speaker, award winning entrepreneur, executive speech coach and author of the public speaking and presentation skills book “Capture the Spotlight”. Her clients include executives and leadership teams from Fortune 500 and FT 500 companies. She was selected one of the Top 100 Leadership Experts to Follow on Twitter and is a featured writer on the LinkedIn ‘Leadership & Management’ Channel. Inquire about her services here.