“You can plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.” -Andre Benjamin
Failures happens. It’s sucks but it’s part of life. Which means we have to learn to deal with it when it happens. Easily said but how is it done? How do you pick up the pieces when you’ve done everything right? How do you overcome failure?
When I was in sixth grade, I tried out for the cheerleading squad. For two weeks I practiced cheers, I practiced tumbling, and I walked around with vaseline on my teeth to always be smiling. I even got some of K-mart’s finest workout gear for the day of tryouts. On the big day, I was fresh from head to toe. I was confident I would make the squad until I walked out on the stage. I came out and flawlessly did my cheer. And then they asked me to hit a cartwheel. Who puts someone of a high ass stage and asks them to hit flips. I stood there like an idiot. My only thought was I’m going to flip off the stage and die. And when the judge tried to talk me into “just doing it.” My words were more or less… “Screw this shit” and I exited stage left. Needless to say, I failed to make the team. And for a while I was crushed.
Here’s the thing: shit happens.
I’ve had more failures since that day. I’ve failed some classes. I’ve failed at learning to ride a bike (but that’s just between me & you). About 4 years ago, I even had a failed business. Did I cry? Sometimes. But most importantly, I got over it. And here’s how I did it.
How To Overcome Failure
1. Look for learning opportunities
So… what did you learn? That dreadful day on the stage in front of cheer squad, I learned I have a fear of heights. Here’s the thing, if you survive your failures, there is always an opportunity to learn something about yourself. And if you don’t survive them, there’s no need to worry because you know. Moral of the story: turn your failures into an opportunity for personal growth.
2. Look for solutions
Back in high school, I failed my biology class because I refused to dissect anything. To me, it was just wrong, creepy, and gross. So the next year, I had to take the class again. But this time, I found a loop hole in the school’s policy that allowed me to opt-out of dissecting if it conflicted with my religious beliefs. Please believe I used this to my advantage. Moral of the story: Most problems have solutions. You just have to get creative with your thinking.
3. Vent as needed
Holding stuff in is never good for the body. Think about the last time you use the bathroom. Somethings just need to be let go of. Failure is one of them. But, just like we handle our bathroom needs in the appropriate place, venting must be done in the appropriate place. I like to journal. It’s safe, secure, and pretty easy to get rid of if needed. Some people like to use social media as a place to vent. I personally try not to do this because it has the potential to create an even bigger mess. Talking to a trust friend or a professional helps too. And when I say professional I mean a counselor or life coach. Basically someone who is ethically or legally required to keep your business confidential. Moral of the story: Don’t bottle up your feelings.
4. Try Again or Move On
After failure occurs, you ultimately have to decide if you want to try again or move on. Back in 2008, I had the idea to start a floral and event design business. I absolutely love designing events and I love arranging flowers even more. I even became a certified florist and wedding specialist and trained under some of the greatest designers. But after booking a couple events, I realized that brides are some of the most difficult people to work with and funeral work was depressing. So the very thing I loved began feeling like a burden. So I made the decision to move on because that was not my calling. But I didn’t give up on entrepreurship altogether. After getting my degree in counseling, I started life coaching as an independent consultant in group homes and loved it. Moral of the story: make the decision to try again or move on.
My Challenge to you
The next time you find yourself facing failure, use these tips to help you overcome. Yes, failing sucks big time. But each day is an opportunity to create a better life and unleash your creative potential. Failing doesn’t make you a failure as a person, it makes you human. Learn from your failures, find solutions, vent, and then try again or move on.