“What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of having a patient, but restless mind, of sacrificing one’s ease or vanity, of uniting a love of detail to foresight, and of passing through hard times bravely and cheerfully.“
Failing is rarely a fun or pleasant experience, but how we handle failure demonstrates to ourselves and others how we will handle future opportunities. As I researched this topic, examined my own life, and observed others I collected loads of tips and advice for how to forge through failure, handle hard times, and overcome disappointments. The common theme through all the research is to get back up, dust yourself off, and try again. Failure is not an unending journey to disappointment; failure is a process of success. Think of the child learning to walk, they stand up wobble around and fall down. No child stays down and never learns to walk or get around somehow. Innately we, as humans, learn how to move our bodies from place to place. We forged through those early attempts to walk.
Although opportunities present themselves to us, not all are meant to be seized, although I think most are meant to be attempted. Opportunities hold lessons for us, if we achieve the end results we seek or not we are on our path to success and new knowledge. As long as we are continuing down our path to our goal we are forging through and will achieve the success we seek.
Below I have compiled 29 Tips and Techniques for Forging thru Failure. If you have been knocked a bit off balance or have not achieved a recent opportunity that seemed just right for you, read through the tips below and see if one or a few are the fuel you need to keep going.
Create a New Paradigm. We often view a failure as a step away from success, as though we are at a fork in the road. One path leads towards failure and one path leads towards success. When we fail we often feel as though we made the wrong turn. Instead, view failure as a pothole in the road to success. Failure will get your attention as you continue on towards success.
Intentionally Increase Your Number of Failures. The failures are all learning’s, the more you fail the more you learn about how things work and do not work. Learning how to break something is a part of learning how to make things work.
Set “No” Goals. Getting to “Yes” is often a numbers game. If you are in sales and typically 7 out of 10 prospects will hear your sales pitch then make sure you are hearing “No” in proportion to the times you should be hearing “Yes”. If you were to hear 5 no’s then give up you would be short changing yourself. Set a goal of hearing 20 no’s so you can hear the 6 yes’s.
Celebrate Your Failures. Each failure is a milestone. There are things that are learned from a failure that are not learned from a success. Celebrate this knowledge and be grateful for it, the knowledge gained through the failures will lead you closer to the success you desire.
Strengthen Your Courage Muscle. Muscles are strengthened when used and atrophy when neglected. View courage as a muscle to be developed through use. When things do not go your way and you want to give up, know that this is the opportunity to strengthen the muscle of courage. Know that action at this point will allow you to reap its benefits later.
Failures are Time Well Spent. Many view failures as a waste of time, but this could not be further from the truth. Each failure is of value, even if it is simply of what to not do going forward. Now you can focus on another path to your success.
Failure Brings Wisdom. Nobody intentionally enrolls in the School of Hard Knocks, but the education from such a program is invaluable. Learn as much as you can from the situation, so you can apply the knowledge and never go through that again.
Maintain Your Enthusiasm. It is often difficult to pick ourselves back up from failure and be enthusiastic to try again. Failure often knocks a bit of the wind from our sails, however, it is important to approach new opportunities with an enthusiasm and confidence that shows you are resilient and by no means down for the count.
Keep Playing Big. It is easy to allow failure to diminish us. It is easy to cower from a failed attempt and play a smaller, seemingly more achievable, game. But we do not have big dreams so we can play small; we have big dreams so we can be inspired to expand beyond our perceived potential.
Keep Your Confidence. Know your skills, your desires, and your intentions. There are plenty of people who will attempt to derail you and perceive you in ridiculous ways due to their own filters of life, but there are also plenty of people who see your greatness and believe in you. Share your vision with those who can hold it for you when you doubt your own abilities to succeed, they will be your source of strength when the critics seem to attack.
Expect Mistakes. One of the glorious facts of being human is the ability to make mistakes. It happens. Have a backup plan. One of my favorite bits of advice is to “Expect the Best, but Prepare for Less”. Hold a positive expectation of success and create a backup plan if it brings additional security, intuitively comes to mind, or you are simply someone who considers ALL possibilities.
Transform Failure into Enlightenment. Sometimes the light bulb comes on when things are going terribly awry. They say hindsight is always 20/20. The blessing of failure is often enlightenment, clarity of vision about how things should have been done.
YOU are Good Enough. Without a doubt your are good enough. Developing skills, knowledge, and insight is not an indicator of inadequacy or defect on your part. You are of course good enough for the opportunities presenting themselves to you; otherwise they would not present themselves. Harness all your strength, courage and confidence to seize the opportunities ahead of you.
Remain Calm. Acknowledge the feelings that surface after a failure and then direct them in a positive manner. Do not take your anger or frustration out on another or angrily vent to another, process your emotions and hear the messages they are sending you.
Take Your Time. An immediate bounce back is not necessary. Take some time to nurture yourself, recover, and plan your rebound, but know when it is time to move forward again. Taking too much time is a sign that this unsuccessful attempt has taken over your mindset and a shift in thinking is in order.
Forget About How Others View You. There are plenty of people who will try to use your failed attempt to validate their own feelings of inferiority, but within no time they will be focused right back on themselves. Know within yourself that you are on the path to success and as we say in marathon training…”no matter how fast or slow I walk I am still lapping all those sitting on the couch.”
Learn How Others Cope with Failure. We have all had our share of failures; if we are breathing we have had situations that have not turned out the way we hoped. Turn to your role models, your colleagues, your family, your friends, autobiographies…turn to others and learn how others handle failure.
Respect the Humility. There is humility and strengthening of character that develops in failure that does not develop when all things are going your way. Use this experience as personal growth, do not allow scar tissue to build over your wound, but listen to your internal guidance system and allow your character to further develop.
Laugh. Laughter has a healing impact. I know I am too stressed when I cannot find the humor and laugh. Go to a comedy club, the comedy channel, a funny movie, lunch with a friend, or a park to watch the kids and dogs run around without a care in the world. Find your laughter.
Review the Lesson. Learn what is to be learned from this experience so you can apply the knowledge to future opportunities and improved attempts. When I am going through something difficult I ask God to help me learn the lesson of the situation so I can move forward and not repeat the situation.
Discover Your Best Self. Failure will unleash a better you for the future. A better you for others to connect with. A better you with more humility, knowledge, and insights. Use this time to discover a more confident you, you know you cannot be knocked down and out; you have more strength because of the failure and are forging through to even better things.
Failure is Required for Mastery. If you are to be a master of anything you will need to know it from all angles, success and failure. You will need to know how to detect when things are going awry, because you have experienced it and now know how to make the necessary course corrections. You will also be able to mentor others through to their own mastery.
Failure Teaches Willpower, Persistence, Self-Discipline and the Value of Hard Work. Sure there are other ways to learn willpower and persistence, but much comes from failure. Failure teaches us how important something is to us, do we stop at our first failed attempt because it is not important or do we keep going because the personal value is great? When we keep going and find new avenues to success we learn the value of persistence. In both demonstrate our strength.
Maintain a Positive Mindset. Your mindset will very often determine your success and failure. It certainly determines how you process, overcome, and forge through failure. Maintain the mindset that opportunities are only of value to those who seize them and you seize your opportunities.
Stay in the Present. It is easy to relive the “if only” scenarios, but those are of limit value. If you relive the “if only” to beat yourself us, you lose your power. Instead visualize how you would have liked things to go so you can identify areas to improve upon. Then set out to improve upon those areas now. This allows you to learn from the past and receive the inspired action the universe has for you so your future will be brighter.
Embrace Fear. There is power in fear and I believe all emotions are there to serve us. Fear can demobilize (no service here) or mobilize (much service here). Use the adrenalin of fear to move your thoughts and actions forward.
Focus on Trying Again. Moving forward is a characteristic of the lucky, they learn from the past and apply that to the next opportunity. Instead of focusing on what has not worked, change your focus to trying again.
Do not Confuse Lack of Persistence with Unachievable. This sounds a bit harsh but needs to be mentioned. People often give up too soon because they perceive things to be unachievable only to have someone else achieve later. Your next attempt could be what cracks the code, make sure you have made your best effort and applied all you have learned before moving on to another thing.
Grow, for You and Others. People are watching you and learning from you. The knowledge you gain from seizing your opportunities is not only good for your personal development, but is knowledge for others as well. Keep growing and learning as you forge through failure and share your experiences with others.
My favorite definition of forge is to move ahead with increased speed and effectiveness. Seize one or more of the above tips and forge through to the success you seek.