There are lots of ways to bounce back from failure, and they all help you with building resilience. Everyone defines failure differently and most people will say that they learn more from their failures than their successes. Life’s most important lessons are hidden in failure, but it takes courage to examine the situation, uncover the lessons, and learn how to deal with failure productively.
When we fail at something our self-confidence and enthusiasm may be crushed by the experience. Each time we examine the situation, we may be able to see different aspects of the failure that deliver information to inform and build resilience. The following five steps give you a simple process to follow for building resiliency each time you feel that you failed.
Failures come in all shapes and sizes. Personal failures include divorce, relationship problems, loss of friendship, or simple mistakes made in haste or anger. Professional failures include the loss of a job such as being laid off or fired. Another failure may be a lost promotion, loss of job satisfaction, or loss of expectations for your career. The greatest teachers are big failures.
Resilience is the capacity to experience loss, failure, and disappointment and incorporate the experience as a lesson worthy of your attention. When you tap into your well of resilience you are able to see the failure as a part of your journey, not the end of the game. Each time you incorporate the five lessons below you will build a well of resilience that you can tap into whenever you feel that you failed.
“Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems.” — Chris Peterson
So if you’re feeling down because of a recent failure, here are 6 ways you can use it to bounce back and be better than ever:
Failure is the greatest teacher.
Failure is the perception that you didn’t do something right and that the loss is your fault. How you perceive an experience determines whether you see it as a failure or as a difficult situation that needs review and attention. An experience that you define, as a failure may simply be a set of circumstances aligned against you.
Or it may be that you didn’t assess the situation realistically and failure was inevitable. The only way to determine the part you played in the experience is to follow these steps and assess what you could have done differently. Therein lies the lesson. The only thing you can control is yourself.
Take time to process your emotions and disappointment.
Failure brings with it a complex set of emotions and self blame. In addition, you may be angry at the situation or person that you perceive let you down or caused the failure. It is okay to feel mad, sad, disappointed, frustrated, confused, and let down.
Take the time through journaling or reflection to process the emotions. You can cry, scream into a pillow, or stomp your feet. But be sure to use this time to process your emotions, not to strike out at those you perceive have let you down or caused you to fail
The first step is recognizing the emotions and then making a clear and thoughtful decision about any actions that you take regarding the situation. For example, if you were fired, it is best not to burn any bridges by striking out or saying things that will make a difficult situation worse. Some ways to process your emotions are to write letters you never send or journal about the emotions and place them in the context of the situation.
Take a deep dive to understand the facts.
The facts of the experience are the events without any emotional content. After you have processed your emotions (this may take several days or even months), breathe deeply and view the facts of the experience. Write down what happened without any emotional bias.
Recognize your actions within the situation without blame or anger to help inform future situations. The old saying that “wherever you go, there you are,” is true. People learn behaviors, beliefs, and strategies for handling failure from childhood experiences. Developing resilience requires you to understand how you react to failures.
It also requires you to take a realistic assessment of your part in the failure. What could you have done differently to generate a different outcome? If you determine that there was nothing you could have done differently, then you may simply be a victim or circumstance.
However, most failures include a turning point where a different choice on your part, may have created a different outcome. The only way to tell is to take an objective look at your experience and then learn.
Incorporate what you learn into your plans.
Each time you process your experiences; you will learn that you could have generated a different outcome with a different choice. Each day is made up of a series of choices. Those choices span from what you eat for breakfast to how you behave in relationships.
Little choices can have big consequences. Did you choose to react angrily or to ignore warning signs that pointed to failure? Self-awareness and the capacity to behave based on that awareness is the cornerstone of resilience.
When you understand the facts of a failure and incorporate the lessons into your sense of self, you can make a different choice the next time. However, some people go from failure to failure without any self-awareness and never understand why their outcomes are always the same. Resiliency is the capacity to gain knowledge and self-awareness and then incorporate those lessons into our life.
Some people need to remove themselves from the world to process lessons one through four. Eventually, you need to shake off your disappointment and continue to experience life. Severe trauma can have a deep impact.
If your failure is from a traumatic experience, then you may need to see a counselor to process numbers one through four. It may be that you need to “fake it to make it” in order to continue with life while processing the failure. Only you can determine what you need. The decision to see a coach or counselor doesn’t signal another failure. It means you have the courage to face the situation and work through it to a successful outcome.
Learn as you go and get feedback from step three. Feedback from peers and supervisors will help you develop grit or resilience.
Find something that you can be passionate about and use that as a motivating force. Find something that you can dig into to gain a greater understanding.
Discover a way to develop hope out of the examination process. Failure is not a permanent state of affairs. If you feel you are failing all the time and can’t find hope, get help from a coach or counselor.
Success takes time. Give yourself the time to process the experience and develop a plan for your success.
Failure is inevitable. Everyone experiences loss, disappointment, and failure. Resiliency allows you to bounce back from failure and build for a successful future. Your choices and actions determine your success. If you cannot figure out why you keep failing, find a professional who can give you an objective perspective. Remember that failure is not permanent, but is an experience that you can weave into the tapestry of your life.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison
Pat Magerkurth is a life/business coach who studied women in the workplace. Her extensive experience developing resilience and speaking out can help you overcome failure. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to determine if working together will help you move forward to find the lessons in failure.
The country seems divided, people feel angry and frustrated on both sides of all the complex issues Americans face. Making sense of the senseless helps relieve the feeling of helplessness. There is great controversy about such simple things as respect for the flag, racial injustice, constant war, and income inequality. People continue to strive for the “American Dream” and venerate the rich as something special. Some of the wealthy have a social conscious and care about others, while the great majority of corporations exploit the rank and file as the upper echelon get richer. CEOs make thousands of dollars an hour and have exorbitant exit packages. For example, the Experian CEO who endangered the credit histories of millions who then walked away with $90 million in a “retirement” package.
There Are Good People in a Senseless World
And yet, brave individuals and first responders shielded loved ones and strangers when a deranged shooter began his rampage in Las Vegas. How are we to make sense of all this senselessness? Widespread unrest, the beating of protesters, and recognizing racism defined the 60s and 70s. Americans thought we had climbed to the pinnacle when Nixon resigned and that the fight was over when Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States.
Eight years of relative prosperity after a disastrous economic crash when Wall Street greed ran amuck ensued. Amazingly, Job growth was at an all time high, and it seemed like the top of the mountain. However, many ignored the underlying signs of growing discontent. Rural voters feel overlooked, racism is real, and more young black men die at an alarming rate. Once again the Attorney General wants to use for-profit prisons, and at risk is money for educational grants that lift the impoverished.
No Simple Answers For The Seemingly Senseless
There are no simple answers to these seemingly senseless dilemmas. I am reminded of the turmoil of the 1960s. Race riots broke out, as millions of African Americans said, no more. The Chicago Democratic Convention was wracked with riots in the summer of 1968 against the war in Vietnam. It was the first year that I became aware of the war because high school classmates came home in a casket from Vietnam. There was no making sense of the senseless war. The enemy was Communism and the domino theory that it would spread. Communism would eventually die of its own weight to be replaced by dictators, totalitarianism, and oligarchy. Then out came the Pentagon Papers and it would be several years before the war ended.
Making Sense of Senseless Violence
On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four students and wounded nine others while they were protesting the war in Vietnam. It was a senseless act. These were college students with parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, boyfriends and girlfriends. This violent act perpetrated by the US Military on citizens expressing their Constitutional right to free speech and expression woke up a divided nation. It was only 22 days from my 20th birthday. This event was a watershed for the Nation in its view of the war and the divisions within our country.
The complexity of the war protests and the turmoil of the 60s and 70s grew out of the post Second World War golden era of the 1950s. Men came back after the war and were welcomed home as heroes, babies were born, and lives resumed in an idyllic state. Eisenhower was president and enjoyed unprecedented popularity, and people were happy to resume a more normal existence. Underlying all of this was the civil rights movement and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during the war. Watching the Ken Burns Vietnam series, I am reminded of my own youthful vigor and opposition to the war and my own protests.
Senseless Struggles Continue
And so, here we are again, maybe on the brink of a senseless war to assuage the egos of the newest leaders and to feed the Military-Industrial Complex. Do not be fooled war and violence enrich corporations. Additionally, the recent rise in the sale of the gun bump stocks that can make a semi-automatic weapon an automatic weapon capable of killing 59 and injuring 489 innocent people in less than 15 minutes demonstrates a senseless struggle. It was a music festival, a place for joyous dancing and fun. The shooter had collected guns and ammunition for decades. And we don’t know and may never know why he committed this crime.
Senseless violence is just that, senseless. As a result, the only way we can only respond with compassion and sensible public policy. Of particular interest is the fact that in the United States there are 146.3 million eligible voters. Over 90 million eligible voters didn’t vote in 2016. The rise of news on the Internet and other electronic media gives rise to unsubstantiated news reports. As a result, opinions masquerading as news polarize people, placing them into opinion bubbles. Many only believe news items that support their core beliefs and seem unwilling to entertain opposite viewpoints as valid. Thus, we no longer engage in civil dialogue.
Value Kindness and Compassion
Consequently, we must value kindness and compassion above winning. Key components to a civilized culture include valuing, caring for, and loving those who have less and struggle to survive. Each human being has value and deserves respect and positive regard. Those who claim Christianity must wake up authentic Christian values clearly expressed in Matthew 5:1-12, that many who claim to be Christian forget or ignore. The beatitudes clearly describe the blessed the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, and the pure in heart. In addition, the blessed include peacemakers and those who thirst for righteousness or seek a greater understanding of God.
These Five Strategies Help To Make Sense of the Senseless
Accept that life isn’t fair.
People may claim to be one thing, but indeed are another. Recognize it and believe in their actions, which reveal their true selves.
Be kind and help others. Fred Rogers said, “Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.” There will always be good people, lean their way.
Fight the inner desire to vilify others or think we are better than them.
Understand that periodic turmoil creates the opportunity for change. Just as tilling the earth allows for more fertile growth.
Pat Magerkurth is a life and career coach, helping clients make sense of the senseless in their lives. If you’re struggling with understanding the senseless in your life, reach out to Pat at email@example.com today to see if working together can help.
Build trust in relationships at home and at work. Trust, a basic building block, creates happy, healthy relationships. Trust builds over time and gives relationships a solid foundation. People often believe that love and friendship conquers all but, sometimes those aren’t enough. Without trust, love and friendship can erode and working relationships can quickly go sour. However, with basic trust, strong relationships overcome many obstacles.
People in strong relationships practice being vulnerable and true to themselves in relationship with each other. This means they rely on and accept each other for who they are. This doesn’t mean that you accept bad behavior, but you assert boundaries when necessary.
People who build trust in relationships still disagree and have conflicts. However, their basic trust fuels their capacity to work through disagreements with open, honest, kind communication. They more readily communicate boundaries and their needs, based on trust.
If you have built basic trust you believe in the reliability, truth, or strength of someone. That belief becomes the foundation for ongoing relationship building and creates a secure space for developing vulnerability and safety.
Here are five ways you can build trust in relationships:
Don’t criticize the other person. Keep your judgments to yourself and don’t offer opinions unless you are asked. When you offer an opinion, do so with love and compassion using non-critical language. Speak to a behavior and not the person’s character. Start with “I have observed…” and then just let it go. It takes five positives to overcome one negative according to the Harvard Business Review. As a result, offer your opinions not to criticize, but to state an opinion or observation.
Practice unconditional positive regard, which assumes the best intentions from the other person. This means assume they harbor no negative intentions. If they intend you harm or are hurtful, determine it over time through their actions. Use your intuition about feeling safe. If they don’t treat you well, make the decision to exit quickly and safely.
Compassion and empathy provide the safety individuals need to be vulnerable. Vulnerability with another person requires trust and, when shared, can build a solid trust foundation in the relationship. So communicate in a loving and compassionate way, even when you are angry and hurt.
Apologize when you are wrong. Sounds simple, but it isn’t easy to do. The book by Harriet Lerner, Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurtshelps the reader understand the importance of apologizing when you have hurt another person. She also helps the reader understand a sincere apology and why it is so important.
“The best apologies are short, and don’t go on to include explanations that run the risk of undoing them. An apology isn’t the only chance you ever get to address the underlying issue. The apology is the chance you get to establish the ground for future communication. This is an important and often overlooked distinction.”
Communicate using “I” language. This critical communication skill teaches you to take responsibility for our own feelings. No one can make someone feel a certain way. Take responsibility by simply stating “I feel angry when you… For example, “I feel hurt when you behave this way (state the behavior), but don’t say “you make me mad” or “you make me sad”. As a result, this communicates the feeling as your own while pointing out the behavior or situation to which you reacted.
Strong Couples Build Trust Over Time
Trust, a valuable relationship commodity, builds over time. To build it be positive and accept the other person in the relationship for who they are. Love looses its luster, but successful couples use the basis of trust. As a result, they continue to explore each other as they grow and change.
Pat Magerkurth is an experienced coach who understands the importance of trust in building both work and personal relationships. Contact her for a complimentary session to determine whether you can work together to understand how to build and maintain trust in your relationships. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tragedy strikes without warning and, if you are human, you will experience one or more tragedies in your lifetime. For many people unexpected tragic events knock them off course and create circumstances from which they may never recover. These 5 steps to developing resilience for success will help you face the challenge and be flexible.
Challenges may include the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or the break up of a significant relationship. Stress at work can also create problems that escalate and become seemingly insurmountable.
The truth is everyone encounters hardships. But everyone responds to them differently. Your level of resilience determines your response and successful recovery.
Developing Resilience Helps to Productively Move Forward
Resilience is the capacity to overcome, re-engage, and thrive afterwards. The extent of your flexibility determines the success with which you return to your everyday life in the face of setbacks.
You can develop and strengthen resilience with some effort and a conscious awareness of your own internal processing. Being flexible doesn’t mean that you don’t suffer or have emotional responses to the events. It does mean that you have the capacity to find and use support and resources which will allow you to overcome the situation effectively.
Build resilience by following these 5 steps:
Consciously explore your inner world and emotional being. Learn to recognize your feelings and name them. Naming your feelings allows you to bring them to the surface, examine them, and make a decision about your response.
After a job loss we may feel shame, fear, and anger. Each of those emotions has a separate impact on our potential response. You cannot control how you feel, but you can control your response.
Recognize that the sadness, shame, and fear are not permanent, but simply need to be felt and processed. When adversity strikes the recovery from the effects are processed using grief. Recognize that this is not a permanent state of being, you will recover and be okay.
After experiencing the emotions, which may take some time, explore what happened and how you were within the situation. Do you want to do things differently in the future? What can you learn from the experience and how can you implement those lessons in the future.
Reach out to others for support. Your resources (family and friends) can help you through this time. They care about you and want to help. If they are silent or not present, tell them you need their support. If that isn’t possible, find professional support in the form of a coach, counselor, or support group.
Engage in the world:
Find something new and different to do that will give you a different perspective. If you have never hiked, go on a hike. If you have never golfed, go golfing. The important thing to do is to find something different that doesn’t relate to the past. This initiates a new beginning or a new normal.
A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that coaching enhanced goal attainment, increased resilience and workplace well-being as well as reducing stress and depression. These responses indicated the study members who received even short-term coaching found that it increased self-confidence and personal insight. This helped them to build management skills and deal with organizational change. Another study published in the Behaviour Change Journal found that a strengths-based resilience-building program provided participants with coping skills and lower levels of stress and depression. It also found that the skills gained were rated highly and used in everyday life.
Finally, remember that you can honor the experience and the people connected to it. If you lost a loved one, know that eventually you will be able to remember the joy and wonder that they brought to your life. If you lost a job, you can connect to the friends you made during that time. Each experience builds on your resilience and capacity for joy in your life. Developing resilience is a journey and a process. Sometimes in the midst of the struggle it is hard to see outside of that moment.
When you begin to develop resilience, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a counselor, therapist or coach. These helping professionals will be able to guide you to becoming the resilient person you want to be.
Pat Magerkurth is an experienced coach who understands the importance of building resilience for a successful life, both at work and personally. Contact her a call for a complimentary session to determine whether you can work together to build your resilience. Contact her at email@example.com.
According to Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let your true selves be seen.”
When I accepted who I was with all of my obvious flaws. I could recognize them, own them to others, and make better choices to better my life. When I embraced my authentic self, I was able to move more freely within relationships by accepting and giving feedback. This fostered growth and awareness.
1. Clarify your values: Often we make choices based on what we think others want us to do or what we think we should do. Daily choices determine our life’s direction and, as a result, our outcomes. Showing up and being real means we need to think clearly about what it is we value, want and need for our own wellbeing. This doesn’t mean making choices without considering others, but it means our own needs are a big part in the choice we make.
2. Set boundaries: In order show up and be real, it’s important to know who you are and what you want for your life. Ask yourself, who do I want to be in this situation or this relationship? How can I be real and let people know what those needs are? Once we know those answers it is easier to express our needs to others and to have our needs met. Boundaries can be as simple as telling others what we will and won’t accept or what is helpful to us in a particular situation or relationship.
3. Stop negative self talk: Honesty is simply being who you are in given situation. It doesn’t mean that you are totally open and vulnerable to everyone and every situation. Give yourself a break and embrace all the wonderful about yourself. You can shift styles so we are better able to relate to others, but we still need to be our honest self. Honesty and integrity about who we are is valued. So love who you are.
4. Explore and be open to growth. One way to do that is to be open to differences in self and others. Try new things and new experiences. Walk a different path and see how you feel about it. Looking at yourself in a different situation can help you better understand yourself.
5. Take in feedback without feeling criticized, it is someone else’s opinion. Someone reminded me “Perception is reality”. When we let others see who we really are, it gives them a chance to also be open and show us who they really are. It may be that you will decide this situation or relationship is not for you based on the open honest self. That’s okay, not everyone can like everyone and not every situation is right for you.
“Authenticity starts in the heart.” Brian D’Angelo