5 Ways to Address Failure

Have you ever thought about having this tagline?  I am Looking Forward to Failure.

Probably not. Who would?  We often link the failure to achieve a goal as coming up short versus others we wish to compare ourselves to.  You get this converged potion of feelings including disappointment, resentment, envy and self-doubt.  Most people’s lives and careers are based on seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. Most will bend over backwards putting themselves into a situation where they avoid failure because the perceived pain far exceeds any potential probability of success.

This is where we will stand out and make a difference in our lives.  Every failure is a stepping stone to inevitable success. If you knew, in the bottom of your heart, that no short-term obstacle can prevent you from achieving your goals in life, wouldn’t you view failure in a different way?  You bet!!!

Scott Edinger, the founder of Edinger Consulting Group, co-authored an excellent HBR(Harvard Business Review) blog titled, Get Ready to Fail.  In it, Scott highlights 5 ways to address failure and make it part of the process rather than something to avoid.

1) Acknowledge the failure and put it in perspective
Research referenced in the blog shows that taking responsibility for your mistakes separates those who handle failure well from those who don’t.

2) Look for causes, not blame
Assigning blame means shifting control of a solution from yourself to others.  Focusing on the cause(s) means you take control to prevent similar failures in the future.

3) Before you wrack your brain to think up an appropriate response, take a break.
We are not designed to operate under a 24/7 mode though when we confront failure, we cannot stop thinking about it. Engage in other pursuits. Spend time with loved ones or get some physical activity(endorphins). Let your mind wander. You will be surprised what 30 minutes to a few days of a mental break can do.

4) Get some help.
Feeling down is normal. Prolonged periods of depression and despair are not. If needed, find that friend, mentor or therapist to help you through this setback.

5) Refocus your efforts and take action.  
Nothing will make you feel quite as good as taking action and finding even a small element of success in that action. It may take some time to reach that success, but you certainly won’t have any until you start trying.

Action of the Day
Identify if you are taking any risks in your career where you are risking failure. If not, identify an action you could take to make a difference. Make believe you failed miserably in your initial efforts.  Create an outcome that is likely to cause you to feel let down, rejected or taking several steps back instead of forward.  Now, pretending you have failed, go through the 5 steps above in your mind. Play the scenario out. Do you come out of the role playing exercise in a stronger place where the implications of a failure can bring you strength and one step closer to success? The pain of failure starts to be less significant than the pleasures of success from the experience.

Quote of the Day:  “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right”….. Napoleon Hill

Picture Credit: © Ia64 | Dreamstime.com

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Do you need a Jolt of Inspiration?

Have you ever felt like you are hitting your head against the proverbial wall?  I have many times. There were my early days in Middle School where I ackwardly tried to fit into the social scene(it wasn’t pretty).

I hit my head on those first jobs where I was still discovering what career path I want to pursue. There were the latter years where my passion at times exceeded levels some people are comfortable with.  As I pursued more and more exciting things, my head hit the wall all too frequently. You know what, it is a good thing. It means I am pushing myself beyond the comfort zone of the status quo. I bet you have experienced the same thing.

I recently searched for a short video that can very simply serve as a catalyst to inspire positive thoughts. Why? Because to Upgrade your Career and your life, you need to be continuously inspired. You get to ultimately learn to inspire yourself. This is a pretty cool objective.

I discovered a “results” expert, author and consultant named John Von Achen. I have no ties to John, haven’t met him or interacted with him as of this writing. There is a short/sweet slideware YouTube he made available(approx. 3 minutes) that you will enjoy and can turn to for a quick dose of inspiration anytime. I sure will.

The beauty of this is that it isn’t rocket science. Your thoughts are a muscle. Work them, feed them and manage your thoughts through positive repetition. Please feel free to visit John’s website.

Actions of the Day: Count how many times over the next 12 waking hours you find yourself facing negative thoughts that create doubt in yourself. Of those negative thought experiences, how long did they last in average? If you find yourself spending a significant amount of time focused on doubts, fears and feelings of temporary helplessness, then make a commitment to invest time to build your control of thoughts. This could be one of the most constructive decisions you make. Many people find career development to not be meaningful if plagued by negative thinking. One way to do this is have available short inspirational reading/video material whenever negative thoughts set in.

Quote of the Day: “If you don’t see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.”
— Zig Ziglar: Motivational author and speaker

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Top 10 Ways How Successful People Think

One of the most critical skills you will ever attain, are the ones that control the way you think.  Is there a correlation to what you think and how you perform?

YES     The mind is so strong that you can take hold of thoughts that can induce signs of illness. 

John Maxwell, a well established leadership expert and author of many books, released a book in 2011 titled “How Successful People Think”.   If you want to become an expert golfer, you need to think like one. If you wish to lose weight, you need to think like someone who weighs much less than you do today. You GET TO think like the person you wish to become.

I selected my Top 10 Ways Successful People think from John Maxwell, and they all have a common theme. It all starts upstairs in the mind.

I have added some quick translations in ().

  •  Get over negative self talk. Winners think in terms of “I will” and “I can”  
     (Negative thoughts = Negative results…”as you think so shall you be”)
  • Thinking is a discipline. If you want to be better at it, you’ve got to work at it.
     (Positive Thinking Practice makes perfect…you mind is like a muscle..keep working it!!!)
  • Figure out where you need to focus your energy, and then use the 80/20 rule
    (Prioritize Your Limited Time….80% of tasks can be ignored with minimal implications)
  • Smart thinkers expose themselves to different ideas and types of people
    (Meet new people and uncover new ideas from  your discussions – it’s amazing what you can learn just listening)
  • It’s one thing to have an idea, another to follow through 
     (An idea is like a seed…following through on it is like watering the seed…action is required)
  •  Smart people collaborate with other smart people  
    (You will never succeed alone. Seek mentors, partners, supporters)
  •  To think differently, do different things
     (To appreciate others’ ideas, you need to value other ideas)
  •  Have an agenda — for the day, and when you meet with people 
    (When you meet people, make it count, you need to collaborate with people to succeed)
  •  Creative people are dedicated to ideas  
    (ideas lead to creating value….we need to create value to be successful)
  •  Naturally optimistic people find it hard to be realistic thinkers         
    (Thinking out of the box still requires doing your homework)

ACTION: Pick one of the 10 recommendations and LIVE IT for the next 24 hours. What changed for you? Start the habits today towards positive thinking. If you found success, pick a 2nd recommendation to follow for the next day…you are on the road to a brand new perspective of yourself and where you take your career and life.

Quote of the Day: “You are the masterpiece of your own life; you are the Michelangelo of your experience. The David that you are sculpting is you. And you do it with your thoughts.”— Dr. Joe Vitale: Motivational author and speaker