“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
This year can finally be your year! You can stay disciplined with your diet and exercise routine. You can make more money and get that promotion. You can reach your goals and change those bad habits – that is of course, as long as you don’t do what you always end up doing.
Yes, you know what I’m talking about – hitting a wall, getting discouraged, and giving up. I want you to be successful in 2014. I don’t want you to give-up and get discouraged when you run into failure and challenges along the way. (because the challenges will be there!)
That’s why I ask some amazing entrepreneurs, healers, and coaches what they do to shake off failure and setbacks.
I asked them two questions: 1. When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? 2. What helps you overcome discouragement?
Their answers reveal a common theme of “looking for the lesson,” and an understanding that we have a choice in the meaning we make of our mistakes and challenges. We are going to fail but we can use our failure to get better!
When giving up isn’t an option for you, here’s some advice you may want to follow!
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? The most important thing about any failure is looking at what you can learn from it. Each lesson is actually something that arms you to continue the journey. And the more you fail, the more desensitized you become to it. One other piece of advice is to take little risks. Do things where the cost of failure is low. And then increase the cost of failure as you progress. What helps you overcome discouragement? The easiest way to overcome discouragement is to realize that ALL situations are temporary. What happens when you’re discouraged is that you make permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work too well. Once you realize that nothing is permanent, you can move on.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? I have long since REFRAMED what was formerly known as FAILURE into what it truly is, a neutral event…one I can learn from and be amused by. FAILURE is a superstition…a story we attach…and it is of no real use. What helps you overcome discouragement? There is no discouragement as such. There are various thoughts I have that…when believed and dramatized…can lead to discouragement. But why do that?
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? I am a graduate of the ‘Academy Of Failure’. In fact, I have a ‘PhD in Failure’, and some of my professors and instructors have had the following surnames: ‘Blunder, Mistake, Error, Fault, Omission, Miss, Oversight, Slip, Trip, Stumble, Faux Pas, Scrape, Mess, Botch, Breakdown, Mishap, Misfortune, Downfall, Wreck, Miss The Mark, Succumb, Go Under, Bite the Dust, Lose, Flounder, Over Reach. Come Off Second Best, Run Aground, Come Up Against A Stone Wall, Burn One’s Fingers and Come To Grief.’ They have all been my greatest teachers. So when I encounter failure I persevere and keep moving forward by stopping and asking myself one question: ‘What can I learn from this experience?’ And on discovering the answer, and then by applying that new-found knowledge to my life, I have enfaced into my being the ability to persevere and can keep moving forward – while at the same time I am also a little wiser. What helps you overcome discouragement? Words. The words that you speak will frame your world. Death and life are found in the power of the tongue. I have watched successful people, who had it all; destroy their life by yielding to the power of negative words, by allowing them to flow like a sewer out of their mouths when things get tough. When I coach others in business, one of the first things that I pull them up in is in the area of their speech quality. By only allowing positive speech to flow out of your mouth your life will be transformed, and that poisonous and vile flow will no longer destroy you. Discouragement cannot contain one who fills his or her mouth with words of encouragement.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? Years ago I learned to look at failures as feedback as a way of gathering more information and do something better the next time. It’s not always easy to do that because failure causes a dopamine crash caused by a loss of status. But now I know that the original negative feelings will evaporate fairly quickly if I keep reframing the situation as a learning experience and don’t keep feeding them or beating myself up. What helps you overcome discouragement? Reframing the crap out of everything and looking for the good in the bad. Pretty much every negative situation can teach us something and help our personal growth as long as we don’t wallow around in self pity.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? For the most part, I try to keep my failures small so that they’re easy to move past. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way but I use a little strategy to test all of my big ideas in a small way before taking them bigger so there’s a better chance at succeeding. This way, I avoid most catastrophes and can get past failures without an enormous hit to my life. What helps you overcome discouragement? Ice cream. Seriously.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? Firstly, I review what I had done and not done. And I ask myself if I was doing the right thing in the first place! I check in with my intuition – maybe I was not supposed to be doing that. Once I am clear I am on the right path, I then go all out and somehow make it happen. I also tell myself that life is a game – and I would rather continue to play than to give up the game! What helps you overcome discouragement? I overcome discouragement and any disappointment by firstly acknowledging that I had done the best I could. Rather than beating myself up, I acknowledge to myself that I had done the best I could with my current level of awareness, knowledge and understanding. Remembering once again that life is a game allows me to see that it’s not about losing or failing, but all about participating in life. By playing full out all the time in this game of life, I am always a winner!
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? I don’t believe failure is a negative experience. I expect to fail. I give myself permission to fail. Failing isn’t a flaw. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. If I fail it doesn’t mean I’m a failure. If you don’t allow yourself to fail, you’ll never succeed. What helps you overcome discouragement? Failure is an opportunity for me to learn, gain insight, grow and be better at what I do. I overcome the discouragement by encouraging and motivating myself. I focus on what goes right instead of what goes wrong. I simply make up my mind that nothing will stop me from getting it right!
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? First, I feel really bad. I’m human and that’s what most of us do. Then I try to put the failure into perspective. It’s pretty rare that I haven’t experienced a failure of similar magnitude in the past, so I ask myself, “What happened the last time you fell on your face like this?” After a while, I realize that the skies didn’t open up and I wasn’t struck by lightning, so I know I’m not going to die from this failure. I also remember the old, but still essential, saying, “This, too, shall pass.” What helps you overcome discouragement? I talk to my close friends a lot when I’m feeling discouraged. They have unflagging faith in me even when I’m vigorously flagging away. They also help me with the perspective piece I mentioned above. And sometimes chocolate ice cream helps.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? What helps you overcome discouragement? When I encounter failure I turn it around and approach it from a positive point of view. For example, in my financial sales career I must be able to handle rejection. There is no salesperson in the world who is going to win 100 percent of the time so my outlook is that for every “no” I get I am that much closer to a “yes!” And, this is how I deal with the discouragement in any situation in my life where I haven’t been successful. I see it as just another stepping stone in the path I am following in my life.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? The first thing I have learned to do when encountering failure is to emote. If I am angry, sad, frustrated, or disappointed because of the failure, I need to spend some time in that emotion. Sometimes the answers for why the failure occurred reside within my conversations that come from the release of the emotions. The second thing I do is look for the lesson. I ask myself why the failure occurred, and I explore what valuable lesson I have learned from the experience. Overall, I keep moving forward and persevering simply because I understand that failure is a stepping stone to future successes. I have only succeeded in life after failing first. Learning not to be afraid of failure keeps me moving forward. If I allow the fear of failure to stop me from trying, I won’t experience any growth! What helps you overcome discouragement? The realization that growth and development comes from failure helps me keep my head up and helps keep me charging forward. I keep pressing on because I have experienced the joy of success, and I know success will come if I keep moving forward. My optimism about what the future holds for me stems most of the feelings of disappointment.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? Years ago, I heard a saying that has stuck with me, “There is no failure, only feedback.” What is failure? It means that your expectations haven’t been met, what you thought should happen didn’t. I take things as they come. I do my best, and if it isn’t received as I want it to be, I see what I can learn and take the next step. I am not motivated or deterred by feedback from the outside world. I listen to the inner voice and trust it to guide me What helps you overcome discouragement? I don’t take things personally. I truly take every experience, including failure, as an opportunity to learn something new. I don’t expect to always succeed or get my way. I am much more focused on the joy of creating and not so attached to any particular outcome.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? A quote I absolutely love is “there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback”. This is something that I remind myself of regularly. I also see failure as a component of striving for success. Failure is an inevitable part of life and if you avoid failure, then you’re most likely not challenging yourself enough. In saying that, when I do encounter failure the main thing that keeps me moving forward is the continued focus on my mission and why I am doing what I do. It’s always hard when I get rejections from prospective clients or I don’t have the sales I wish I had, however, because I celebrate my successes I remember my successes and this also helps in motivating me and keeping me focused on my mission as I know it is possible to achieve it and do more of it. What helps you overcome discouragement? I find that when I get discouraged I can feel myself losing motivation and focus. The first thing is just being aware of this. Again, I simply focus on the reasons why I do what I do and the benefits I will receive if I continue doing what I do. The other thing I try to do is to start talking more with others and surrounding myself with people who can pick me up, encourage me and support me in what I am doing.
When you encounter failure, how do you persevere and keep moving forward? What helps you overcome discouragement? fail·ure – an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success Most of us think of failure as one of the worst feelings possible, often making it mean something negative about ourselves. But when you look at the actual definition, is it really all that bad? First of all, it’s an act or an instance of failing, which is quite different from labeling yourself a failure. We’ve all had instances of proving unsuccessful at something and survived quite well. When I’m confronted by failure the first thing I do is ask myself who was I being that it turned out this way? I’m not looking from a place of blame, but rather a desire to understand what went wrong and learn from it. I then ask a second question I learned from my mentor, “What are the wins, insights or learnings from this failure?” These two questions form the foundation that keep me moving forward. Sometimes though, it’s not easy to keep going, especially when faced with disappointment and discouragement. Instead of trying to force myself to get past it, I focus on the feeling itself, paying particular attention to where it shows up in my body. In my work I believe that everything has a positive intention – including negative feelings. Once I locate the feeling in my body, I ask it directly what it wants for me. I know this sounds a bit odd, but I always get a response, and that response leads me back to a resourceful state. The key to perseverance is to always be looking for the learning, so that it empowers you to keep going. It’s not always an easy practice, but in my experience, it’s definitely one that makes a difference.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison
I want to send a huge thank you to all the contributors for their wisdom and willingness to contribute to our grit and resilience in 2014! Here is to a happy and prosperous New Year!