When I was in my twenties I experienced what I’ve heard numerous twenty-somethings lament over: The pressure to accomplish! A quick Google search of 20-Something Lists will provide you with an unlimited array of “25 Things You MUST DO Before 30,” or “50 Books You Must Read by 25,” or “30 Countries You Must Visit By 30!” (I may have exaggerated on the last one, but you get the picture.)
It’s no secret that Millennials have been highly pressured since childhood. Yes, we did receive trophy’s just for showing up, but perhaps that helped to offset the incredible stress that striving-to-be-the-best-in-everything caused. But what happens to children who face that stress during their formative years? I think the abundance of lists floating around the internet remind us of what we must accomplish. So we continue to strive.
But eventually striving becomes taxing on our minds, bodies and spirits. It causes burnout. And when failure strikes, it can lead us down a much darker path. It’s no secret that anxiety and depression are commonplace among our generation.
What so many Millennials today don’t truly comprehend, because of the many years of striving to accomplish and move forward, is that failure and success go hand in hand. Failure is moving forward. Without it, we would remain stagnate, never being nudged toward growing and improving our inner and outer worlds.
Further to that, any individual hoping to move into a leadership role should be well equipped to handle failure: It’s a part of the job and no one is immune. Robert F. Kennedy, said it best:
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
But how can we become better equipped to handle failure?
Here are my tips on how to turn your perceived failure into a growth opportunity that will benefit you in all of your future endeavors and relationships.
1. Give yourself some space.
When we feel as though we’ve failed at something – whether it be a project, relationship, etc… – we can be quick to make decisions and changes based on emotion. This is never a good idea. First, give yourself some time and space from the situation and then figure out how to move forward with a clear mind.
2. Don’t think positive.
I know that sounds completely wrong. Why wouldn’t we want to think positive? How could thinking positive be bad? Well, here is the answer to that question: thinking positive isn’t the same as having a positive perspective about the situation. Instead, it can actually just be an avoidance tactic, when what you should be doing is learning and allowing the experience to help teach you and guide you moving forward. Don’t just go through the motions and cover things up, deal with them!
3. Break the striving cycle.
As I mentioned above, striving to accomplish wreaks havoc on our minds, bodies and spirits. This intermission that you have is the perfect opportunity to break the cycle of striving, and reevaluate your goals for your overall well-being, not just one aspect. Give yourself a chance to have a glimpse at this lifestyle, and you will never look back.
How have you handled situations that result in a failed project/relationship? What did you learn that can help others?
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Learning How to Handle Failure
It is so true that we learn the most from our mistakes and failures, rather than from our successes.
You make terrific points, Heidi about taking time to evaluate what went wrong and what we can learn from our failures!
When I have a presentation that doesn’t go as well as I may have wanted, I breathe, reflect on the factors that may have contributed and then file that info in my brain before my next workshop. I am always learning and open to change. The thing is believing in one’s abilities help create the confidence to not be overly judgmental on ourselves.