You and I know that failures are part of the journey. At the recently concluded Inbound Conference, Seth Godin said, "If failure is not an option, success is not an option either." Failure and success are like two faces of the same coin. Then it seems like a mystery when you see someone struggling to bounce back from a failure.
If you or someone you know is facing that challenge, here are four steps to bounce back from a failure:
1. Recognize invisible payoffs
While no one admits it openly, there are payoffs for not bouncing back starting with sympathy from the loved ones. It also provides an instant license for inaction in the near future. Whatever be the payoff, it diminishes in its value as soon as you call it out. Payoffs have the power as long as they stay under the radar. The moment you acknowledge that payoffs exist, you feel silly that "you" are being controlled by those payoffs. You know that you are smart enough to be beyond that.
Releasing yourself from the clutches of these invisible payoffs is the first step to bounce back from your failure.
2. Revisit your core purpose behind your quest
Whatever was your quest, it was mostly a means to an end. The end was the core purpose behind that quest.
Identifying and acknowledging your invisible payoffs diminishes the power of those payoffs. Revisiting the core purpose behind your quest does exactly the opposite. It will bring back the passion, energy and enthusiasm that started you on your quest in the first place.
There are many paths to achieve your core purpose and this failure just demonstrated that ONE of those paths closed for you. Either you can stay there staring at the "Road Closed" sign or get cracking on charting a new path. The choice is yours. When you revisit the core purpose you will automatically shift your attention to other available options to achieve that purpose.
3. Reframe the situation
The reality is that "either you succeed or you learn." As long as you don't commit a blunder that will push you to destruction, there is always something good that you can take away from your failure. Because you are in a funk and blaming yourself or someone else, you are not looking at the learning that comes with the failure. You could change that by consciously reframing the situation by asking a simple question -- "What am I learning from this?"
The side benefit of choosing to reframe is that you will automatically move away from the blame game immediately conserving a lot of precious mental energy.
4. Recharge to plow ahead
At the same conference, Arianna Huffington shared a French expression "recoiler pour mieux saunter," which translates to "lean back in order to jump higher." A failure gives you a perfect opportunity to lean back and if you do it right, you can recharge when you are leaning back to prepare yourself to jump higher.
This is where you not only soak up all the learning from the failure but also double-down on related learning in the area of your strengths. The key word is "strengths" as you might be tempted to fill "all the gaps" you might have as a person. That strategy rarely works.
Recharge your strengths and build a network to manage your weaknesses by building a strong ecosystem surrounding you.
Lastly, at every failure, remember one thing: "This is not the first failure you have faced in life and this won't be the last failure you will face." Your ability to bounce back quickly from failures will determine where you end up in your life.