Have you failed? Try these four steps.
In the meantime, we know that certain steps can be taken so that you find yourself on the winning side of the failure equation. Remember these.
- Step 1: Recognize and admit failure. With defense mechanisms, you can sometimes deceive yourself into thinking that failure didn’t actually occur. But the unconscious brain is smarter than your conscious cognition. It knows when you messed up. So there’s no point in hiding it. Be sure to take personal responsibility rather than blame the situation.
- Step 2: Turn off the thinking. At this point, you don’t want to rationalize the failure. Doing so will prevent you learning from it. So avoid the shoulda-coulda-woulda style thinking and begin to embrace the emotions… which leads to the next step.
- Step 3: Turn on the feelings. Engage with the emotional experience in an adaptive way, with self-compassion. See your emotions by taking a non-judgmental stance. Label them. Give them names, but don’t see them as inherently bad or good.
- Step 4: Be ready for action. The purpose of emotions — all our emotions — is to prepare you for action. The problem is, some negative emotions actually promote inaction. To overcome failure, steps need to be taken. Things need to get done. If you find your negative affect is characterized by low energy (fatigued, tired, depressed), turn them into sources of high energy negative affect instead (angry, defiant, incensed)