Picture this. You’re in an interview for your dream job. The interviewer asks you about your competencies and why they should offer you the position. You’ve prepared for this moment and rehearsed the answer many times. You open your mouth to answer, but suddenly your mind goes blank. You quickly try to come up with a decent response, but you end up stuttering through a generic statement about why they should hire you. The interviewers look less than impressed and you leave feeling deflated, upset and like a failure.
It would not be unreasonable to say that everyone experiences some form of failure at some point in their life. In our hectic world, we are expected to juggle a job, relationships, health, education and many other facets of life. Nobody is perfect, and something is bound to go wrong at some stage for everyone. The reaction to a failure is key to managing it. For some people, a failure is seen as a huge setback where everything is bound to fall apart. For other people, failure is a chance to learn, grow and eventually try again.
When we fail, we often sit back and rethink our abilities and skills. Failure can distort our thoughts around this and we may sometimes fall into the trap of doubting ourselves. This is perfectly normal. But its important to catch ourselves doing this so that we can correct ourselves and maintain a realistic perspective of ourselves. We may also develop a fear of failure, which can lead to fear of trying new things and setting new goals. This fear is often unconscious, so you may not even be aware of the fact that you might be holding back on new endeavours. Again, having the right mindset is very important here. Focus on the steps needed to achieve success, rather than the possible consequence of failure.
When we respond to failure in a negative way, we are much less likely to successfully manage it. This is because we are not likely to learn from failure if we constantly shy away from it when it does occur. Through failure we learn the importance of persistence and of working towards our goal. It keeps us grounded and reminds us that good things do not happen overnight. Failure also challenges us to rethink our strategy. If we try one course of action and it doesn’t work, we can reset and think about other options available to us. In the end, these alternative strategies may actually be much more effective!
Written by Shane MacSweeney