Overcoming failure is all about starting again yourself to achieve your goal. The failure of a project, relationship, or other goal might initially overwhelm you, but if you acknowledge your disappointment and accept your mistakes you will be able to move on. Realistic optimism will help you form a new plan without setting yourself up for failure. Remember, your long term goal is resilience: the ability to adapt and thrive.
• Feel your emotions. When you feel you have failed, you may overcome with self disappointment, and despair. Holding in your painful feelings can have negative effects on your health, your relationships, and your future success. Notice each emotion as it comes to you. Take time to name the emotion, be it anger, sadness, fear, or shame. This will enable you to work through it without turning it on yourself or others.
• Take time to heal emotionally. Failure is often heartbreaking, and you won’t get over it in a day. Life is not easy and it cannot be controlled, but be happy with your small victories as you try and get up from a huge failure.
• Accept what happened – After the first shock of disappointment wears off, work on accepting what happened. It will be harder to move forward if you blame yourself or others, or pretend that what happened didn’t matter or didn’t really happen. Write down or reflect on everything that happened, what lead to it and what the consequences were. State only the facts, without blame, judgment, or justification.
• Identify fears that are irrational or excessive. Do you worry that failure calls your intelligence and capability into question? Do you imagine that you are the only one who has ever experienced this setback and that you are being judged? Are you worried that everyone will be disappointed or lose interest in you if you don’t succeed?
• Practice positive reframing. Positive reframing is all about discovering the positives in any situation, even failure. Look at the situation in which you feel you failed, and contemplate different ways of describing it. Failure presents you with an opportunity to learn until you get it right.
• Consider all the athletes, scientists, and other successful people who have tried and failed, only to persevere until they achieved their goal. Michael Jordan was famously cut from his high school basketball team, only to work hard and become one of the greatest players of all-time.
• Set realistic goals. Once you have worked through the causes of your past disappointments, work on setting a more realistic goal for the future. What would you like to see happen next? What sorts of actions on your part could make success likelier? Check with people you trust to measure the realism of your new goal.
• Choose to be happy – Happiness is definitely a choice; unfortunately many of us choose to be sad. When you fail, your natural emotion will be sadness however don’t let your failures define your emotions. Similarly, don’t let your happiness be dependent on your success. Choose to be happy even during the worst times, and you will feel in control of your failures.