NINE WAYS TO OVERCOME FAILURE

We all experience failure whether we like it or not. Failure does have an upside though. The recovery and learning associated with failure gets imprinted on our brains more deeply than any other kind of experience. In spite of that, some of us, especially girls and women, tend to hold onto the experience of failure longer than our male counterparts. In fact, we are also more likely to internalize the reason for the failure saying things such as "I'm not smart enough" whereas a boy or man will simply think "Wow, that was more difficult than I expected" and then move on. I've listed 9 ways to for girls to overcome failure in preparation for tomorrow's "Let Failure Fuel You" event.

 1.    BE NICE TO YOURSELF. Remind yourself that failure is part of being human. Everyone experiences it. If it helps to wallow a bit, go for it, but only for a designated amount of time, like 10 minutes, an hour or one day.

 

2.   SHIFT YOUR FOCUS. Shift from focusing on your failure and all the "what if" and "should haves" to something positive and joyful. If you like to read, pick up a book. If zoning out watching TV is therapeutic, go for it. Talk it over with a friend. Go on a walk. Kick a ball. Journal or ask for a hug. Just get out of your head.  

 

3.   LOOK UP. Science has proved that looking up can shift our emotions and thoughts so the next time you're holding back all those negative emotions associated with failure, simply look up. Don't believe me? Test it out on a crying baby. The next time you're holding a crying baby, or consoling a sobbing toddler, snap your fingers above her head and see what happens when she looks up!

 

4.  SEE FAILURE AS A BLURSING (a blessing and curse at the same time). Remind yourself that you've survived and it could be so much worse. (Feel free to make a list of all the ways this failure could have been worse... get creative and go BIG). Or, consider all the ways you can be thankful for this experience. Reassure yourself that people aren't snickering, staring or even talking about you. For example, are you still ruminating on your friend's epic fail when she scored a goal for the other team? Did you dump her? Probably not.

 

5.   TALK IT OVER. Science shows that one of the best ways to move on from failure is to talk it over. Share your experience with a friend, parent, teacher, or coach; someone you trust who will support and encourage you.

 

6.   KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE. Remind yourself that failure is temporary, unlike tattoos or piercings. It is a setback, an obstacle to overcome, a problem to solve. It is not a life sentence. Ask yourself "What am I learning? What will I do next time? What will I avoid doing?" Consider how you can overcome the obstacle or solve the problem and take small steps to do it.

 

7.  JUST FOCUS AND DO IT! Keep taking steps towards your goal. As you continuously take steps and practice improving each time, things will get easier and you will get better. Have you ever arrived at school and wondered how you got there? You don't remember walking, riding your bike or the car ride? That's being on "automatic pilot." The more we do something, the more automatic it becomes. Your goal is to practice until it becomes automatic; you don't have to think about it. It just happens naturally.

 

8.   DO IT AGAIN ASAP! Okay, so things didn't go as planned. In fact, they went totally in the opposite direction! Unless you are physically hurt, stand up, dust yourself off, give yourself a little "CAN DO" pep-talk, tighten your ponytail, and attack whatever it is in front of you with sheer determination. If you've fallen from the beam at gymnastics, it is best to get back on it ASAP. Will you make another mistake? Maybe, but not the exact same one that knocked you down originally.

 

9.      ASK FOR HELP. There are many people out there that want to support you in achieving your goal or dream. Allow them that opportunity by asking them for help or advice. Consider your parents, family members, teachers, coaches, and mentors. And, if that's not enough, hire a certified, professional coach.