By: Michael John D. Natabla, CPA
Have you ever experienced to commit yourself in something, to give your 100% and more, but still you haven’t received the result that you have expected? Or, have you ever had countless sleepless nights just to submit your deliverable on time but despite your best effort, you still haven’t met the deadline? One way or another, it happens to all of us. As long as you are doing something worthwhile, there is always a risk of failure. Denis Waitley once said that failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.
As young professionals, we always aim for success. But we should also understand that failure is part of the process of success, most especially when we aim high. Instead of fearing failure, we should learn how to cope with it. We should face it. We should use it to our advantage. Here are the five recommendations on how to deal with failure which are based on the different social, philosophical and psychological studies made:
Feel your emotion
“We do not get over grief by denying it. We have to feel it. We have to give it its due” – Claudia Gray, A Million Worlds of You.
Failure is painful. It most probably hurt you. It might disappoint you. It might make you sad. And that is okay. There is nothing wrong in feeling your emotions. Afterall, emotions are part of being human. And it is not wrong to be human. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, embracing negative emotions has a positive impact in your psychological health.
Rejecting your emotions will just hurt you in the long run. Accepting your feelings will give you some release. It will help you to recover faster.
It might also help if you can share your thoughts and what you truly feel with someone you trust, like a family member or a friend.
Remember, your emotions are not your enemy. It can be your friend. It can be your armor.
Be objective in assessing the situation
The next thing you need to do is to ask your whys.
Ask yourself why you failed in the first place. Assess the root cause of the problem. By doing so, you will have a clearer idea of which actions or inactions are effective and which are not. But do not be too hard on yourself. Forgive yourself. Do not take it too personal. Zig Ziglar once said, failure is an event, not a person.
The only issue in self-assessment is that, sometimes, we can be biased. We may unconsciously justify our actions. We have certain blindspots when it comes to assessing ourselves. That is why it is also important to seek advice from people who are not emotionally invested in the problem. Third person’s point of view can give us a different perspective. In that way, we can make a more objective assessment.
Learn from the situation
“Failure is the greatest teacher” – Udai Yadla
We only truly fail if we don’t learn from our setbacks. Remember, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, had failed his primary school twice, his middle school and his university entrance exam three times but look at him now, he is one of the richest men in the world. He succeeded because he persisted. He learned how to use his failure to his advantage.
Failure is our teacher even as a child. We have fallen down so many times before we learned how to walk. We have mispronounced certain words before we became fluent in speaking our language. We have fallen off a bike before we learned how to ride it.
As an adult, we should learn from our former selves. Use failure as an opportunity to learn and to discover more about ourselves. A failure that has taught us a lesson is not a failure at all.
Set a specific goal
Now that you have assessed and learned from the situation, you should set your next goal. It is important to be specific and realistic in setting up goals. Having a clear goal will drive you forward. It will also help to have a better tracking in your progress.
One of the recommendations is to use the S.M.A.R.T goal method, which was coined by George T. Doran in 1981. S.M.A.R.T stands for:
Instead of saying that you will submit your deliverables before their deadline, it is better to set a specific date, to quantify how many outputs you aim to deliver and to make a specific plan on how to execute it.
Act on your plan and try again
Everything we have discussed so far is irrelevant if you are not ready to make a step yet. Yes, failure is painful, most especially if you have given your all. It might be scary to risk again. But that is exactly what separates us from successful people, they are not afraid to take a risk.
J.K Rowling had hit the rock bottom before she succeeded. Had a failed marriage. Became a single mom. Had no job. Her first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was rejected by 12 publishers. But she persisted. And now she is one of the best selling authors of all time.
Walt Disney was fired from his job “because he lacked creativity”. But now, Disney is one of the Biggest media companies in the world.
Francisco Noel R. Fernandez, a graduate from University of the Philippines, failed the bar exam on his first try in 1993. But he reassessed himself and enrolled in a review school. He topped the bar exam the following year.
If you are still doubting yourself, and if you still do not know the answer, just have the courage to take a step forward because, maybe, just maybe, the magic happens in your next steps.
As part of our team’s initiative to reduce stress and anxiety towards our members in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, we engage each one to be an inspirational speaker within the 30-day enhanced quarantine period, giving soft skills discussions that will somehow divert their attentions from the negative thoughts around. Published article above is one of the outputs of our team member Michael who is also a remarkable member of our Financial Reporting Team.