Everyone fails. If you haven’t failed, then you haven’t tried. Failure is never something to be ashamed of, as long as you’re learning from it, and it absolutely must be dealt with. You cannot learn and move on until you address your mistakes. So when you’re at the bottom of the barrel, remember these things:
Allow yourself time to take it in.
When you’re faced with failure, you’re often flooded with a wash of negative emotions that compel you to catch all the broken pieces before they hit the ground. However, rash decisions lead to greater failure. Take the time to walk away from the situation and breathe. Eat something, get a drink, read a book – fire is not raining from the sky, you can benefit from a renewed perspective. Then come back and evaluate the situation.
Realize it’s not the end of the world.
There are very few things in life that are a complete “end game” with no hope of rebuilding. Yes, maybe you financially bankrupted your company, but what is bankruptcy? A do-over. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s not the end of the world. Henry Ford filed bankruptcy, and yet Ford trucks are in high demand!
Look at in it bite-sized pieces.
Now that you’re evaluating your situation, don’t overwhelm yourself with the whole elephant at once. Stop and break it apart into chucks you can handle – what is one element of the failure? What repercussions does that have? Alright, what’s another portion to the failure? What is the punishment from that? Plot out the issue and see what the real odds are.
Remember that you’re not alone.
You’re not human if you haven’t failed, and most of the people we consider to be great successes have had serious blows dealt to them. The Beatles were told they had no future in the music industry; Disney was fired for lack of creativity. Look around you and cut yourself a break.
Plan your comeback.
Everything looks brighter when you have a plan. Don’t focus on the failure; instead focus on exactly what you’re going to do with those bite-sized pieces. How are you going to use these lessons to improve? Which problems are you going to avoid this next time?
Look at your rebuilding process and not at the ruins.
The most important tactic for dealing with failure is exercising some optimism; feel free to mix realism in with it. Now you have your manageable pieces and you have a plan – use it. Don’t look at the failure; don’t even take that into account. Focus all your mental energy on the new plan for getting back to the top. The fastest and most effective method for dealing with business failure is to look forward to the rebuilding process, skipping right over the desolation. Don’t let it take up your very important time. The more time you’ve devoted looking at failure, the more time you’ve lost towards reaching your greatest goals once again.