How to bounce back from a failure

Jamie Ellis
May 6, 2022
How to bounce back from a failure

There’s a great quote from Mr Lightbulb, Thomas Edison. He said: ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work’. Isn’t that brilliant? But that’s the thing about ‘failing’ at something. It’s all about how you frame it. And how you move on.

The fact is, we all fail. Big fails, small fails, important fails… It’s inevitable. And success can’t be achieved without failure. Yes, it sounds like one of those clichéd motivational mantras you find on Facebook, but it’s true. Anyone who has succeeded at something – whether it’s work related or personal - has failed on the journey to get there.

But failure can still hurt. It can give your ego quite the bruising. So how do we shake it off? How do we turn it into a learning curve? How we take failure positively when all we really want to do is give up? We have a few ideas for you.

1. Don’t be too hard on yourself

Ok, say you’ve failed at something. It stings. The trick is not to stay in that mindset for too long. Accept that things didn’t go the way you wanted them to, and move on. Celebrate because you’re one step closer to smashing it. And be proud of yourself for trying. Just know that the pain of failure doesn’t last forever.

2. Don’t sugar coat things

Failure. Flop. Fiasco. Whatever you decide to call it, be honest about what it is. You didn’t succeed, end of story. If you try and fool yourself into thinking it was actually some kind of weird success, then you won’t learn anything from the experience. Own it. There’s no shame in failing.

3. Learn and try again

It’s no good failing and failing and failing if you don’t learn from them. That’s how you cut the odds of failing the next time. Analyse why you didn’t succeed. What did you not do well? Did you fail because of a weakness? If so, work on your weaknesses. Turn them into a strength.

4. Don’t lose yourself to fear

It’s easy to always expect the worse after a failure. To assume that things are going to be the same every time. Self-doubt creeps in and you might even get so scared that you don’t even want to try anything again. Snap out of it. By not fearing failure you give yourself a huge advantage.

5. Lean on your loved ones

Failure can be a lonely place. But there’s no need to suffer on your own. You can draw strength – and no doubt some much-needed perspective– from friends and family. They are there to support you and get your back on your feet. Don’t go on the journey alone!

Remember, the bigger your goal, the more chance you have of failing before you achieve it. But be happy you’ve attempted to reach something awesome. J. K Rowling summed it up quite wonderfully when she said: ‘‘It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default.’