I was completely engrossed, hanging on every word. I read story after story, barely able to believe what I was reading. Every person I read about was completely unsuccessful. I began to find comfort in their failures. Their defeat made me smile. I know, I know. Not exactly the reaction you’d expect. Especially from someone who at one point in life was convinced the word FAILURE should consist of four letters.
It really is such an ugly word after all, isn’t it? So absolute. So unyielding. So. . . necessary. That’s right, necessary. Why? Because a phoenix can only arise if there are ashes to arise from.
So, yes...failure is necessary to move forward, but the term itself can be rendered completely invalid, as long as you don’t give up trying.
Here are a few tips on how to bounce back from your setbacks and turn them into successes:
1. Define your own success: Failure is subjective. If your ideas of success are bound by strict ideas, you’re very likely going to find yourself disappointed. The one thing in life that’s guaranteed is that nothing is guaranteed, so why attach your sense of self worth to someone else’s idea of success? Draw your own lines.
2. Find the lessons in setbacks: I could rattle off a slew of statistics about entrepreneurs and businesses that eventually were successful after copious failures, but this isn’t about money. This is about personal success – it’s about rebounding from a defeat and moving forward. Anything can be useful if we learn from it and then do something with that knowledge.
3. Stay the course: This is where most of us get tripped up, and it’s understandable. On one hand, we know being consistent is critical to positive change. On the other, we have the definition of – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sadly, there’s no miraculous blueprint that will lead us to the life we want. We are all different. We have to figure out for ourselves what works and what doesn’t; and then we have to keep moving toward our goal.
4. Focus on progress, not end results: So you didn’t reach your ultimate goal. Big deal. Did you make any progress? Just because you didn’t meet a specific goal doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s easier to be aware when you focus on the process and not the outcome. I’m not saying to stop setting goals. I’m saying to that when you slip and fall, get back up and go back at it. It’s about making progress.
5. Set yourself up for success: Sometimes we set ourselves up to fail without realizing it. We try to make too many changes too quickly and we set initial goals too high. It’s more realistic to make small adjustments in your schedule than to overwhelm yourself with major changes all at once. Simple goals work – they’re tangible, achievable, and realistic.
Sometimes it might simply mean taking the stairs when you could easily take the elevator or choosing to eat a human sized portion when you could choose to "Supersize it". Remember, goals are things you have the capability to achieve through direct action or not achieve through inaction. So when you find yourself in the ashes, arise and fly. Success is about perseverance.