Failure is something we’ve all experienced before, and we’ll all likely experience again. Looking back at all my failures, I’m very thankful for them. If it weren’t for my failures, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Yet, failing still stings. Even though deep down I KNOW I’ll look back and be thankful it didn’t work out, it’s still a hard pill to swallow in the moment.
Some of my past failures which I am now thankful for include:
- My first failed relationship which led to my husband. Honestly guys, I feel like I hit the jackpot when it comes to my marriage. We are best friends, have so much fun together, dream together and love living life together. Of course, we argue too, but John and I are very similar and very strong-willed. Fights are bound to happen, but overall I am so incredibly fortunate to have him as my other half. If it weren’t for my first (failed) boyfriend, I never would have met John.
- Getting laid off. My first job out of college was at a subprime mortgage company. After a short 4 months there, I was let go. Shortly after, the entire company closed down, so even though it was nothing personal – it still stung. At that job, I met one of my best friends who I’m still very close with today. The job that followed that one was where I met another one of my closest friends. While I’m (obviously) not working at either company now, I learned a lot and made some lifelong friends! I call that a success!
- Getting into debt. My husband and I used to have a good amount of credit card debt. We’ve since paid that off, along with a car loan and a student loan. Hooray for no debt! Until we bought a family SUV last year and are now working on paying off that loan. You live and learn, right?
And I think we can all agree we experience millions of smaller failures throughout our day to day lives. In school, I would study for hours yet still not do well on a test. As a mom, I feel like I fail every day.
Most recently, I got turned down for a writing job that I really wanted with a great company. It feels like a failure, but I’m hoping in a few months I’ll look back and be incredibly thankful that I didn’t get that position. Jobs tend to be a lot like relationships. You lose one only to find that there is something better on the horizon.
How to overcome failure
Since my most recent failure, I’ve been doing a few things to help overcome it. Hopefully, this will encourage any of you who might be experiencing rejection, too.
For starters, know that the most successful people often fail the most. Thomas Edison unsuccessfully tried over 1000 times to invent the light bulb before it actually worked. What would have happened if he’d of quit at attempt #5? Success takes work and with work comes failure. I think it’s easy to only focus on people’s successes without knowing the whole story. You may see a successful blogger with tons of followers and comments on every post, but their story is different than yours. They’ve probably been blogging longer, they may be blogging about a different topic than you are, they may have more time than you to devote to blogging, and so on and so forth. It’s important not to compare the success of others with your own failures. It’s like that quote on social media, “Don’t compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel.”
The only way to not fail is to never put yourself out there. You can’t get rejected for a job if you don’t apply, you can’t learn to be a better mom without first having a child, you can’t work at being a better wife if you never get married, you can’t learn from blogging if you never start one, etc. If you fail often, it’s simply because you’re trying often. That says something in itself!
So, here’s what I’ve been doing to overcome failure:
Focusing on what I do have going on. This particular failure was a work-related one. On the flipside, I have so SO many awesome clients right now that I am incredibly thankful for. I will continue to do my best work, put my best foot forward and have a good attitude with all my current and future clients.
Realizing that it wasn’t meant to be. I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason. That’s not to say you can sit back and wait, but I honestly believe for some reason I wasn’t meant to get this job. Maybe it would have occupied too much of my time, maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I enjoy freelancing or maybe I’m going to be more successful by continuing down the path I’m currently on. Who knows, but what I do know is that I did my best and I can only move forward from here.
Keeping a positive attitude. Sitting around sulking is never a good idea. Whether you put an offer in on your dream home and didn’t get it, you lost a job or you broke up with our significant other, try as much as you can to focus on other things and move on with life. Sometimes sulking is necessary for a little while, but the only way you’re truly going to get over your failure is by moving on from it. Don’t let your past determine your future.
What do you do to overcome a failure? Any recent failures lately you care to share?
photo credit: Flickr via Barbara