Well. You failed. That thing you tried doing, it didn’t work. You didn’t get the job, your business didn’t succeed, you broke up, the souffle fell. Whatever. You failed. Congratulations, you’re a human person.
I know it feels rough to fail. But there are a few things to keep in mind. First, don’t take it personally. Second, failing does not make you a failure. Your identity is not wrapped up in this thing that failed. Sure, you had something to do with it, but this thing, this FAILURE, really is only a Tier One Failure, entry level stuff. There’s a reason it’s called a “rough draft”—it isn’t pretty. But now you’ve gotten that out of the way!
Worse would be giving up, not trying again. That’s a Tier Two Failure. To continue growing as a person, avoid this. Have you ever watched a kid learning to walk? They fall, and they fall, and just when you think they’ve gotten the hang of it, they fall again. They cry, they laugh, they don’t give up. So don’t give up. Try, try again.
But here’s the thing, you have to do it a bit differently next time. Your Tier Three Failure is refusing to learn. This is the big part of the thing—it’s time to do some work. So. Let’s learn from our mistakes; it’s time to reflect.
I’m going to recommend writing these questions (and their answers) down. But that’s the sort of person I am. So grab a notebook (bullet journal, the back of an envelope, a Starbucks napkin, whatever). Ready?
What went wrong?
What went right?
What is the goal? (OR- what result am I looking for?)
Why is that the goal?
I’ll give you a hint, the WHY will be the hardest to answer. Dig deep. Search. Be honest. Because the why is what drives the what. It may speak to why things went the way they did on the first go-around. It may speak to other decisions, attitudes, and actions in your life. Answer “Why?” and you’re well on the way to making a better second try!
Armed with our Pro-and-Cons-List-on-Steroids, we can adapt our plan and strategize with a fresh perspective. Take a look at what went wrong and what went right answers. What do you need to do more of? What do you need to do less of? What other changes need to be implemented? It’s a strategy session—fake left, go right (or some other sports-related reference…) What were the weakness of the first draft? Where can you build on your strengths? Where do we go from here?
And then we repeat the process. Like that toddling tot, we keep on trying. Because we see other people doing it, we know it can be done. We know it’s attainable. We just have to keep putting in the work.