Six Things to Do After You Fail

1. Decide not to ruminate…

I see you reading this post. For the past couple of hours you have laid in bed, imagining a different outcome. What if you hadn’t said what you said? What if you hadn’t forgotten the words? What if you hadn’t made that mistake? I understand. The outcome was not what you wanted. Your brain is working over time to change the past, to make you feel on top again. Well, I have advice for you: decide not to ruminate. You have control of your brain, of what it produces and what it decides to focus on. Don’t focus on your failure…

  1. Unless your ruminating will actually change something

There is a healthy type of rumination- this is the type that focuses on mistakes and seeks solutions as a learning tool. Learn to view your failure as something precious, as something that can lead to growth and success in the future.

  1. Breathe

You’re onstage, you forgot the words in your presentation, the crowd looks bored, dissatisfied and when you try to imagine them naked as they quickly leave after you finish, it still doesn’t help. This is the moment to breathe. Take long, deep breaths. Realize that your brain needs oxygen to help it calm down and get rid of all the thoughts rushing through your head. Breathe and remember that this failure is not the end.

  1. Ask for feedback

It’s okay to fail. It is not okay to fail without learning anything. This is the time. Swallow your pride, go up to your boss, sit him or her down and sincerely ask them: what did I do wrong and how can I get better? Not only will they be impressed (which is a step forward to success) but you will learn something that can help you in the future. Though it is important, as stated in Tip 2, to seek future ways to correct a mistake, it sometimes helps to have an outside perspective that can add other points to your evaluation.

  1. Do something you love

So, you failed. Get the bath robe, get the chocolate chip cookie dough, get the remote and choose a Netflix show of your pick, right? NO. If you sincerely love Netflix, then it is okay to go to it as a source of comfort. However, if you are planning on throwing yourself a solo pity party, then save that for another time (preferably, never!). Get out of bed, turn on the lights and do something that makes you happy. Read that book that’s been sitting on your bedside table forever. Take a swim. Write in your journal. Call your girls or guys up and head to a new movie or a new restaurant or a night at the bar. Do something you love to do in order to remind yourself that life goes on beyond your failure. Speaking of which….

  1. Remember, please remember, that this was one failure

Why am I writing this post? Because I felt the cold sting of failure recently. I took a risk and put myself in the spotlight, hoping that it would help to boost myself professionally. When that risk didn’t turn out so well, I had to stop and choose my next move. Writing this article reminds me that I can get past this failure by determining to do better in the future. As amazing as the brain is, I can’t change what I did by focusing on it for the rest of the night. What I can do is use this brain to think up solutions for the future- to remind myself that this is just one failure in the middle of many great accomplishments that have happened in the past and that will come in the future.


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