Failure is always a possibility

And they all lived happily ever after. Thus ended many a fairytale. As children, we enjoyed those tales (Although I sometimes wondered what that statement meant). In reality, no one ever lives happily ever after. We have good and bad days. There are days when we succeed in our attempts. There are also those when despite out best efforts (or lack of them), we will fail at something. Being able to deal with failure is an important skill. Fortunately, it is one we can all learn.

It’s not the end

Don’t let it define you

Possibly the worst mistake you can make after a failure is to view your life through the lens of that failure. Yes your failures will have consequences and you will have to take responsibility for them. However, if you keep replaying the moment when your epic presentation fell flat, you will never move past that. That you failed today is not an indicator of a lifetime of failure. Students fail their exams at the end of a semester, only to perform better next semester.

Talk to a friend or mentor

Sometimes, what we need is to see things from a different perspective. Talking to a trusted friend can provide another point of view. Perhaps the failure you are stressing over is not as epic as you would believe. A good mentor might also share with you some of the failures they have experienced in their lives. You might be surprised they have failed in a grander scale than anything you have possibly imagined.

They failed at something too

Learn from it

If nothing else, be sure to treat each failure as a learning opportunity. Perhaps you failed to meet a deadline you had set for yourself because the task was more complex than you had imagined. Your key takeaway from that might be to set more realistic deadlines next time. Did your previous project fail because you did not bring in enough people with the skills you are lacking? The lesson here might be to improve your teamwork and collaboration skills.

The most successful people have accepted that even in situations where they feel they cannot afford to fail, failure is still an option. That it hasn’t happened to you yet does not mean it is going to happen. That being said, failing at a task today does not mean you will fail tomorrow. If you can train yourself to view each failure as a learning opportunity, you will realise that at the very least your latest failure has taught you what not to do next time.

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