It’s easy to beat yourself up when you fail. This is something that we all do remarkably well – even if it’s only you that knows of your failure and no one else. Sadly, you will hold yourself to the fire and become your own harshest critic.
While it’s good to hold ourselves accountable and ask ourselves whether we really pushed hard enough, it is just as important that we not doubt ourselves in our efforts and accomplishments. Accepting failure isn’t easy. But there are a few things that we can do to ensure that we don’t critique ourselves too hard.
Here are five ways towards accepting failure and trying again:
5 Ways of Accepting Failure To Build Your Confidence
1.) Write it down.
Take a piece of paper, or a notepad, and write down everything you did wrong. Start with two columns.
In the first column, write down everything that contributed to your failure. If you fill the page and need more, keep writing. In the second column, beside each item from the first exercise, write down what you could do better.
While accepting failure is important, it is just as vital for us to identify how to avoid it next time.
2.) Read it over once.
Now fold up the paper very neatly – and throw it in the garbage. Better yet, burn it. You made mistakes, and you’ve acknowledged them. Now it’s time to move on.
If you don’t believe in this exercise, that’s okay. But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Taking that hard look at yourself, writing it all out, is beneficial not because you get to see the words in your head, but because you are transposing the word from your head – to somewhere else.
You are transferring all those negative emotions of doubt and failure rationally onto paper. It’s devoid of any subjectivity. You’re accepting failure.
Once you’ve done that, then it is gone.
3.) Know that you tried.
Who else tried? Maybe a few people did, but definitely not everyone.
YOU tried. That’s important.
There are so many people who sit on the sidelines and critique those who try. But there aren’t nearly enough folks who will celebrate individuals who made an effort. This isn’t meant to create a “culture of failure”. Rather, this is meant to celebrate the “you did something that no one else was willing to do” type of culture.
There is a HUGE difference. Building a new product for a highly niche market? Quitting your job to chase after your dream? You did more than try – you went where others were too afraid to go.
Maybe you failed today. But you definitely learned something that will prepare you for success tomorrow.
4.) Don’t compare yourself to others.
You are further today than you were yesterday, last week, last month, or last year when you started on this path. The knowledge, skills, and abilities you have learned are greater now.
This isn’t about measuring where others are. This is about measuring how far you have come. It’s deciding whether you want to go forward and learn more, to push yourself to do more.
There is only ONE person on the road. This is you. So keep moving on.
5.) Understand that some things are outside of your control.
In any failure, there are factors which we simply cannot control, anticipate, or change. You can beat yourself up all you want – but if everyone else can’t control those factors, then why should you be stressing about it?
Focus on what you CAN control. Focus on what can make you better.
Failure is where self-doubt is at its highest. We naturally internalize everything around us into one negative ball of doubt that will rage against us. We won’t have control of that energy, but you can’t go down with it either.
Is this your last chance?
Are you kidding me?
Accepting failure is your FIRST chance at doing something different, at trying something new, at making progress in your goals in your life. The only time it’s your last chance is when you throw in the towel. For everything else, this is the first day of something new.
At one point or another, we will all succumb to the self-doubt that swells within us as the result of NOT reaching our goal. We’ll call ourselves a failure and want to hide away, never to return. Someone will always get mad or be disappointed despite the efforts we have put in.
If we can escape that heat of the moment and the maelstrom of emotions, we can come to see that the game isn’t over. In fact, it’s just beginning. It’s “round two”. Fear, self-doubt, and loathing are hoping that we’ll stay down, hoping we won’t recover and try again.
It’s time to prove them wrong.