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5 Steps To Bouncing Back From Failure

Experiencing setbacks is inevitable, but how many times have you doubted its contribution to your moment of triumph? Has it changed your outlook on your goals? Here’s the deal–nobody likes making a mistake, having a setback or simply failing. It’s no fun but they are fundamental elements to success.

Failure is unavoidable, especially as a college student – what you need is a constructive, healthy outlook to handle these setbacks. Here are 5 steps to bouncing back from failure.


It’s OK to be upset

Hitting rock bottom and facing tough obstacles in your college years is frustrating. It’s hard not to feel angry, anxious or overwhelmed when things are not going your way. Let yourself be. Feel and release your negative emotions.

“Now, when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. When that moment comes, it’s okay to feel bad for a little while. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost. But then, here’s the key: Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are.” –Oprah

The trick to rebounding from failure is in finding the best way for you to let out these negative feelings. Everyone has their own way to handle these emotions. Being in college and facing these challenges will enable the development of your coping mechanism. Self-care here becomes a necessity (LINK BLOG POST ABOUT SELF CARE HERE). For some people, starting a bullet journal, feelings chart, or even light exercising helps them break these negative thought patterns.

Allow yourself to disconnect and clear your head. Then when you’re done with your self-care routine, move forward.


Failure is a natural part of life

When faced with a situation most would call failure, start by embracing your mistake. Don’t try to hide it – there’s no need to feel shame. Everyone fails in their life. Those who acknowledge its normalcy are prepared to get back up.

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a different way to stand” –Oprah Winfrey

It doesn’t matter if it’s major challenge such as failing a class or a minor one like not doing your best in an exam – failing will force you to step outside of your comfort zone. It will inherently require you to dig a little deeper. This takes effort, work and skill. Treat failure as a force to motivate you. Never allow it to discourage you.


Turn your wounds into wisdom

This step is the most demanding—and most essential part—of your comeback from failure. Realize that greatness doesn’t come from success, it comes from persistence. Be brutally honest with yourself when reflecting on your setbacks. If people like Einstein, Jordan, Oprah had stopped at failure, there would be no greats.

Without reflection, you can never learn from your mistakes. Failure is nothing but a lesson – it’s fuel. Start asking yourself questions like: What happened? What could I have done to make it better? What nuggets of wisdom can I take away from this experience? Make it your personal mission to reflect, project and grow from these experiences.

After jotting down your lessons learned – make it a habit to apply them.


Build up your resilience

Resilience lies in viewing any difficulty as a challenge, not a paralyzing event. Being resilient is never easy or outwardly evident for that matter. They key here is in identifying yourself as worthy and capable of doing what you set your mind to. The mistakes you’ve made in the past are opportunities for growth in the future.

Setbacks are tests of your commitment levels, not your abilities. Resilience keeps you committed to your goals. It makes it easier for you to focus on what you have control over. You’re able to separate liability. Rather than worrying about uncontrollable events and feeling lost, put your efforts where they can have most impact.

There is real truth in the saying, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”


Focus on the process, not the results

Even if you haven’t reached a goal you’ve set, you’re still fully capable of achieving it. Situations of failure are best handled with a process-oriented approach. Let each step of the process fuel your journey.

Persistence is power. Those who succeed don’t stop at one failure, or ten, or a thousand. They never give up until they accomplish what they came to accomplish. By focusing on the process and not the results, you put yourself in control and keep your confidence intact. Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey. (Check out: 5 Ways To Crush Imposter Syndrome). Holding your ground when you’ve failed increases your self-awareness and gets you one step closer to achieving your goals. Own it.

If you only remember one thing, it should be this: the only way what you’re going through counts ‘a failure’ is if you quit. When you keep going, it’s just a hurdle that you’ll overcome. Use it to your advantage, as motivation, and you won’t be defeated in the long run.

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