Facing Failure

Throughout our careers and our lives, stumbles are inevitable. More often than not, the task of picking yourself up and moving on can appear daunting. The trouble with failure, aside from its obvious implications, is that it’s embarrassing. Not only do we have to manage the personal, internal shame of our shortfalls, but we also must be prepared for the adverse reactions of our peers and co-workers. With the right approach, we can bounce back from a fiasco of even the most epic proportions. So how do we proceed following a workplace disaster?

Don’t pretend it never happened. Rule number one: don’t ignore the existence of a problem. If you’re not willing to acknowledge your mess-ups, it’s impossible to move forward.

Don’t make excuses. It is undoubtedly obvious that your failure was an accident, so there’s no need to defend your actions. Admit the failure to yourself and your co-workers, apologize for your mistakes, and let your peers know that you’re working to prevent any future occurrences.

Don’t confuse a failed goal for a failed person. While a defeat is hard to accept, one failure doesn’t make you a failure. Keeping a positive attitude is key. Your goal should be to make up for your shortfalls with even greater success in the future.

Don’t forget that you’re not alone. Everyone fails. It happens to the best of us. Remember that even the most successful businesspeople have failed countless times throughout their careers.

Don’t ignore the bigger picture. Keep in mind that life is all about the lessons you learn. Turn your failures into successes by stepping back to analyze the positive aspects of the situation.

Adapted from “Five Rules to Rebound from Failure,” Bill Bartmann, Entrepreneur.com