When was the last time you openly shared a big failure at a dinner party? I would probably imagine not recently. Unless of course you were having a vulnerable and open conversation with one person. As often as highly successful people share their epic failures and research about the importance of grit and a growth mindset are readily available, we still feel our failures are something to be hidden.
Research, however, is telling us otherwise. We’re learning that failures are actually a critical part of a successful career, and how you handle them is a big indication of your true potential. Here are five ways to navigate failures so that you can milk them for all their worth:
1. Focus on what you can learn from the failure
Failures can teach you so much about yourself, your impact in the world, and how you may not be in alignment with who you are. Getting fired for example may be painful, but it means you were not in a job that was right for you. Getting fired gives you another opportunity to fix that situation. Review all the possible lessons that you can gain, and see how it can help you think more strategically about the next step.
2. Use it as an opportunity to build grit
Being gritty means that no matter what, you don’t give up. If you feel like giving up but don’t, then you’re building perseverance, which according to Angela Duckworth, is an essential part of being successful.
3. Use it as an opportunity to approach it from a growth mindset
According to Carol Dweck, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work–brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” If you see the failure as a reminder that with hard work and dedication you can do better, you are operating in a growth mindset.
4. Celebrate it as a sign that you’re pushing your comfort zone
Failures are a sign that you’re not settling and that you’re confidently pursing things that are on the edge of your comfort. It’s only through pushing through boredom that you can get to greatness. Failures can be a wonderful reminder that you’re not settling and that you’re working hard.
5. Review how this failure is a stepping stone to something much greater
Failures can often times be a stepping stone to something around the corner that you weren’t expecting. For that reason, once you commit to learning from them, you can also be curious about what is next. Alexander Graham Bell, said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
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