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8 Steps to bounce back from failure

8 Steps to bounce back from failure
8 Steps to bounce back from failure

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the 8 steps to bounce back from failure.

First a quick update:

“7 Steps to coping with change”
We cannot run or hide from change – nothing really ever remains the same. Read about how to master the 7 steps to cope with change

Follow me on Twitter– You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert

“Cheating – beware of emotional bonding & lack of self-control”
There are many motivations for cheating. One of them is lack of self-control and another is emotional bonding. Watch the video as I reveal how turning to a woman other than your partner for support can result in an affair:

Now, let’s talk about the 8 steps to bounce back from failure.

The dictionary defines failure as a lack of success.

What is success, though?

Success is the realization of a goal or set of goals.

Thus, failure is simply the lack of realization a goal or the loss of a once attained goal.

Those goals could be family, marriage, love, career, house, finances, travel and so forth.

Maybe you had a family and it is now gone. Maybe you had love and that is now gone. Maybe you had wealth and it is now gone. Maybe you had the ideal job and that is now gone.

What are you left with now?

For most people, what is left is a sense of failure and in turn, hopelessness, depression, isolation, paralysis, and so forth.

So how can one bounce back from ‘failure’?

Here are the 8 steps to shift from failure to success.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

1. The thwarted goal
What is it that you wanted that you now believe is out of reach or no longer achievable? What is it that you had that you now believe you lost?

2. The emotional consequences
What do you feel? List the emotions – sadness, loss, anger, depression, desperation, guilt, shame, humiliation, and so forth.

Understand that it is okay to feel whatever you feel. Understand, too, that depending on the lost goal, there can also be a grieving process and you will need to go through that process (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance and Hope.)   Also read my article: 7 Steps to coping with change 

For how long do you want to stay in this or these emotions? Yes, you have a choice. I am not referring here to willpower over emotions; rather, I am referring to the conscious choice that you wish to feel something new and then being willing to take the steps necessary to experience the desired new emotions.

3. The cognitive consequences
This is a critical step – what do you believe about yourself and the world around you as a result of the thwarted goal or loss of the achieved goal?

Write down all of the beliefs: maybe you concluded that you are a loser or a failure, that all is lost, there is no hope, nothing else can ever make you happy, etc.

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

4. The self-esteem and self-image consequences
This step is connected to the step on ‘cognitive consequences’ – what do you now believe about your self-worth, your level of deservedness? Self-esteem is how much you like yourself, how significant you feel and how capable you feel. Write down your perceptions of yourself, significance and capabilities.

5. Creating new goals
Why did you want those initial goals? What benefits were they supposed to give you – joy, meaning, security, purpose, significance, challenges, adventure, power, fulfillment, influence, parenthood, etc.? Be open and honest with yourself. Were those goals simply an ideal that you had created? From where did that ideal come?

Look at your list and now ask yourself: “What else can give me those same benefits?” Be willing to be open. Perhaps you had a family and now you cannot have that family in the same way you originally envisioned. Be willing to let go of a former ideal. John Walsh, the host and creator of “America’s Most Wanted” lost his 6-year old son, Adam, who was abducted and murdered – his head severed. John Walsh made a choice after grieving to find purpose and fulfillment by becoming a crusader for justice.

Create new goals or as I will explain below, create a new strategy to achieve those preexisting goals.

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

6. Challenging the emotions
Emotions are real – they feel real and have real consequences on the physical body. However, emotions are not always accurate; they are valid and not necessarily precise or appropriate. I can feel afraid only to walk outside and realize there is nothing to fear; I can feel angry and rejected only to awaken to the realization that the other person’s response to me had nothing to do with me.

Now review the list of emotions you wrote in Step 2. Is each listed emotion accurate or warranted? For example, do you really have cause to feel guilt or shame over the unachieved or lost goal?

Accept that you feel the emotion and, accept its truth – it might be inaccurate, inappropriate, unwarranted or out of proportion to the incident or result.

7. Challenging the cognitive interpretations
All emotions have a thought attached to them. In Step 3, you identified the list of beliefs you made about the result – the ‘failure.’ Note that these are conclusions and interpretations you have made about yourself. They don’t necessarily reflect reality. You might have failed at something and that doesn’t make you a complete failure. Now challenge those faulty beliefs and conclusions i.e. test them logically for accuracy and truth. For example, is it really true that there is no hope and nothing else can ever again make you happy? Of course, not.

Ask friends and colleagues for support and perspective i.e. allow others to help you see that your conclusions and interpretations are not accurate or warranted.

8. Take new action
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison answering a question about his process before finally inventing the light bulb.

Now that you have new goals, take new action. Learn from the mistakes of the failure. What can you do differently now? And even if it is too late with that person or goal, you can learn and change your behavior, response and strategies for the next person or new goal.

Look at John Walsh’s story and response. He was close to giving up on life after the murder of his son but, someone helped him to see that he could find new meaning and purpose by working to protect children. More than 3 decades after the murder of Adam, John Walsh continues to testify before Congress and state legislatures on crime, missing children and victims’ rights issues.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Remember, you can always quit later – just not now!

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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