How to Powerfully Deal With a Loss, Setback or Failure

How to Powerfully Deal With a Loss, Setback or Failure

Losses, setbacks and failures are a part of business

So what is the best way to deal with them?

We have all had situations where we have failed. In this post, I am going to go into how to not only deal with a loss or failure, and the emotional states that come along with it, but how to make sure you grow as a leader from of that experience as well.

When we fail, we often do a few things, and everyone has their own flavor.  We may have pity parties for ourselves and even invite others. We have tantrums. We kick, berate and beat ourselves up. We may also get sad and down.  Familiar? Keep reading.

First, none of these approaches are getting you anywhere. They only make you feel bad- so stop doing them.

But how? 

With each one of these, it is common to think how we “it should have gone a different way, I should have done XYZ differently, if only…” We go on and on to (often) ourselves and (sometimes) others about how something or someone is some flavor of wrong in the face of the failure- including ourselves and/or others. Then we dominate others around us by staying upset, pissed off, sad or down.

We also think that we have to beat ourselves up and be unhappy, otherwise, we may not learn or do better in the future. In other words, we think that kicking ourselves will actually make the lesson sink in. Again, not true.

When you fail, it is not the failure that makes you upset, but the thoughts that you have about yourself and about the failure that is so upsetting. These thoughts comes from you and you actually have a choice to entertain these thoughts or not. Again, your choice, but up until now, you have been choosing to do it- I recommend skipping it. 

What TO DO

Here is what TO DO to deal with a failure. First, do not indulge in beating yourself up and kicking yourself, pity partying or being upset. It will not get you anywhere, except expend energy, make you miserable and actually make learning harder.  What you want to do is take an HONEST and OBJECTIVE look at what caused the failure.  Create a great lesson learned ten time more valuable than winning would have been.  Here, you want to look at yourself, because putting the reason somewhere else gives you no access to improving. 

You want to look at physical and mental aspects that had you fail. Did you make a mistake in the sales conversation? Take a sales class.  Did something fall through the cracks because you were too busy?  Get more productive and develop a better system.  Did one of your employees drop the ball?  Take your management to the next level.  See what I mean? 

In Closing

In examining the failure, the idea is to get to a place where you will never fail for the same reason ever again. Use every failure to learn and grow, not be miserable.