Within reason, taking risks is a good idea. If we didn’t take risks, our lives would be limited, boring, and boxed in by our fears. But sometimes when we leap, we land flat on our face.
When this happens we have a choice. We can accept defeat and learn or we can deny failure and rob ourselves of wisdom.
Are Your Experienced
Recently I decided to design a logo for MindFitMove. A friend of mine recommended 99designs. So I thought I would give it a shot.
I wrote my design brief and submitted it. The designs started pouring in. I thought things were going pretty well.
Then I consulted my cousin who is a designer extraordinaire. First she told me she worried that 99designs was exploitative of designers. Then she told me the designs were lacking to say the least.
I looked again and realized she was right. The logos weren’t awful, but they weren’t great either. I felt this knot in my stomach. I knew that knot meant my project had failed.
I knew I had to throw in the towel. I realized then that admitting failure isn’t easy. But admitting defeat is essential to moving forward and learning from our mistakes.
So here are 5 Steps to Admitting Defeat.
1.Seek Trusted Advice:
Before you admit failure, see what others think. It may not be as bad as you think it is. Doom and gloom grows in the isolated mind.
By getting other perspectives you might find out what failed, how it failed, what your options are, and who knows you might even get a hug.
2. Admit Failure to Yourself.
Say, “I failed, but that’s ok, this happens to people all the time. Failure doesn’t make me unique or awful. In fact, if I don’t fail it means I’m not really trying.
3. Admit Failure to Everyone Else
Do this quickly. Delaying will only make things worse.
Make a list of everyone you let down. Contact them and tell them what happened. Take responsibility for your part in the failure.
Tell them you are working to figure out what happened. Apologize for any trouble or pain this might have caused them. Ask if there is anything you can do to make amends.
4. Don’t make excuses or become overly critical.
There are reasons this happened, but excuses just make defeat worse. Instead, take a long hard look at what happened. Notice mitigating factors and where a lack of awareness or knowledge led to this outcome.
It’s also essential to take responsibility without being critical of yourself. This empowers you to make a change. Being overly critical is another way of making ourselves special in defeat. It will only make the recovery longer and more painful.
5. Take the lesson, let go, and move on.
Figure out what you will do different next time, let your defeat go, and move on. Defeat only means something if we learn from it. Wallowing is itself another act of defeat.
Let’s Talk: What is a failure you made? How did you learn from it?