One of the biggest challenges associated with creating life balance and personal success relates to how you manage failure.
- You don’t get offered the job after you attend an interview
- The project you are working on doesn’t achieve budget
- You lose three kilograms instead of four kilograms
- You have a ‘rest’ day when you were supposed to go for a five kilometre jog
- You yell at your child when they climb the fence
- You only read three literature articles when you had intended to read five
Creating success invariably includes many small failures. None of us are perfect so you will let yourself down from time to time. However, if you focus too much on when you have let yourself down and failed, you risk letting the negative energy from failure grow even more and cause more failure.
Equally we can’t disregard failure and pretend that it doesn’t matter. Clearly it does matter when we fail because it delays us from achieving the success we desire.
What then, can we do about failure?
In simple terms you can learn from it. Not a unique concept I know. Your learning will be on multiple levels. For example, what did you learn about your expectations? Were they realistic? On this point it is my experience that one of the only ways to discover what is realistic is to create an expectation, ideally a high one, and then go and do everything you can to achieve it. In doing so you may then have a ‘reality check’ in which a lot of valuable learning can occur.
What did you learn about your planning? Was the planning process itself ‘solid’? Did it help you to consider unintended consequences?
What did you learn about how you put your plan into action? Did you follow your plan or did you just make up each step of your journey as you went along in complete disregard of your plan?
When you did whatever you did, how could it have been done better? This last question can also lead to too much focus on failure if it isn’t done correctly. In retrospect it is always very easy to say that you should have known better. No doubt sometimes you should. There will be other times when your plan was the best that it could have been at the time. How you executed your plan could have also been better. Retrospect highlights the gap between what we did and what we could have done based on what we have just learned. In other words it will be rare for you to take action and then decide that there wasn’t anything that you could have done to have done it better. Retrospect, by nature highlights learning gaps.
Despite your failures, when traveling the journey of creating more success and life balance it is important to notice your progress. Become acutely aware of your small successes and despite all your failures, focus on learning from them to help you continue your journey toward more and more success.
Find out more about the Yes For Success Program here.
Gary Ryan enables leaders and their teams to move Beyond Being Good™.