When You Fall Down, Get Back Up and Learn From It


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Oxford Languages defines failure as: 

- the lack of success
- the neglect or omission of expected or required action
- the action or state of not functioning

And then, we have some commonly used synonyms: debacle, fiasco, collapse, defeat, loss.

Sounds scary, right?

The reality is you will fall down - over and over again. But, it’s how you choose to react to and learn from failure that truly matters. Below, we explore failure in terms of the setbacks we experience and the steps we can take to grow from them. 

Build Your Failure Muscle

Think of failure as a muscle - the more you fail, the easier it becomes and the stronger you get. By strengthening this muscle, you can learn to refine, adapt and prosper. 

Take these two examples: 

In sales, you eventually learn to let “NO” roll off your back and adapt your pitch for future success.

While it may sting for a while, rejections in relationships can lead to finding true love.

If we let every misstep define us as failures, we would be missing out on life’s opportunities. Recognize your resilience in smaller failures and the ways in which you adapt. With this new found confidence to learn, pivot and move forward, you are more likely to take risks that will lead to success. 

Take Ownership of Your Failures

We get it, failure can feel embarrassing even when it’s among the people that are closest to us. Oftentimes the knee-jerk reaction is to spin a story as to why our failure is everyone’s fault but our own. However, keeping up with this narrative can turn into long-term shame and lead to mistrust among peers. 

Ditch the cover-up, own up to your culpability and come up with a solution for your next steps. Recognize the things that were out of your control and let them go. 

“You are bigger than your business card. Separate who you are from what you do - this is part of owning a failure without feeling like a failure.” 

Get Back on Track

We tend to want to move past our failures as quickly as possible, but reflecting on what went wrong is essential for growth. Most people are good at falling down and bouncing back but don’t take the time to analyze the series of events. The next time you fail, think about what happened in terms of responsibility, outcome and what you will do going forward. This self awareness and ownership will guide you through your failure to your next steps and will help you talk about it with those closest to you. 

And finally, get comfortable with discomfort. It will never feel great, but without fail, it will begin to feel recognizable.

For more from Career Consultant, Christina Wallace, catch the session on-demand. 


Read: The Portfolio Life: How to Future-Proof Your Career, Avoid Burnout, and Build A Life Bigger Than Your Business Card 

Watch: TedX - The Future Belongs to Human Venn Diagrams

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