12 Step System to Overcome Failure Comprehensively

How to Overcome Failure Successfully? (The Proven 12-Step Playbook)

Failure is often a disturbing experience that can derail your career and life. That is why you need this proven 12 step playbook to overcome failure successfully!

Take a seat, grab a coffee, tea, or even a cup of hot cocoa—whatever floats your boat. We need to talk about something we’ve all experienced but hardly ever want to discuss: failure. Maybe this is why interviewers want to know, What was your biggest failure?

First things first, let’s get this out in the open: failure stings, okay? Whether it’s a small stumble like missing a deadline or a significant setback like a job loss or failed venture, it’s downright unpleasant. And guess what? It’s totally fine to acknowledge that it hurts.

You’re not weak for feeling deflated, defeated, or discouraged when you fail. You’re human. So, give yourself permission to feel your feelings without judgment. Yes, let that feeling sink in— the sweet relief of not having to pretend you’re okay when you’re not.

What Failure Does to You? The Psychological and Emotional Impact

Let’s tackle this notion that failure is something to be deeply ashamed of, something that you need to hide from the world. In many societies, the word “failure” is treated like a scarlet letter, something that brands you as incompetent or unworthy. And let’s be honest, that’s a load of rubbish.

Why? Because failing at something doesn’t make you a failure as a person. Let’s repeat that: failing at something doesn’t make you a failure as a person.

You’re so much more than one project, one relationship, or one job. Your worth isn’t tied to external markers of success.

Understanding the Nature of Failure

Failure can be heartbreaking, but it also provides us with invaluable insights. It’s like a mirror showing us what we need to work on, or sometimes revealing that we’re on the wrong path altogether.

It’s a built-in mechanism for growth, for becoming a better version of ourselves. However, that can only happen if you allow yourself to learn from it.

The “What” and “Why” of Your Failure

It’s easy to focus on the “what” of the failure. “What did I do wrong?” “What could I have done differently?” While these are important questions, don’t forget to ask “why” you failed.

Understanding the “why” can help you figure out how to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

Did you lack the necessary skills? Were you unprepared or were feeling overwhelmed? Did you not have the support you needed? Once you identify the “why,” you can start building a roadmap to succeed next time around.

5 Ways Failure Affects You

Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what failure actually does to you—mentally, emotionally, sometimes even physically. Understanding the impact can help us deal with it more effectively. Sounds good?

1. Emotional Toll

Failure is, first and foremost, an emotional experience. Depending on the gravity and the context, it can trigger a wide range of emotions—disappointment, sadness, anger, and even despair.

Let’s be honest: nobody likes the feeling of their stomach dropping, as if a lead weight just settled there.

But it’s crucial to remember that these emotions are a natural human response, not a sign that you’re emotionally weak or unable to handle life’s curveballs.

2. Psychological Effects: Self-Doubt and Anxiety

You know that annoying little voice in your head that starts yammering away the moment things go south? Yep, that’s self-doubt, and it’s one of the first characters to make an entrance when we experience failure.

If you’re not careful, self-doubt can be a party crasher who overstays his welcome, moving into your mental real estate and wreaking havoc on your self-esteem.

Failure can also trigger or exacerbate anxiety, especially when you start worrying about the future consequences of your setback. “Will I lose my job?” “Will this ruin my reputation?” It’s easy to spiral into a black hole of “what-ifs.” In fact, job loss anxiety is quite a common phenomenon.

Naturally, it becomes important for you to have a proven system to overcome self-doubt.

3. Physical Symptoms

And hey, let’s not ignore the fact that emotional stress can manifest physically too.

Ever felt a headache coming on after a challenging day, or noticed your sleep quality plummet during a rough patch? That’s your body’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m stressed!”

So, how you handle stress and pressure effectively, starts becoming critical.

4. Cognitive Function: Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

Ironically, when you’re in a state where you most need to think clearly to navigate through failure, your cognitive functions can be impaired.

Stress hormones like cortisol can fog your thinking, making it harder to come up with solutions or make reasoned decisions. It’s like trying to navigate through a maze while wearing blurry glasses.

5. Social Impact: The Urge to Withdraw

Do you feel like you want to retreat to a cave and never come out? You’re not alone. Social withdrawal is a common reaction to failure.

Suddenly, even a Zoom call can seem like a mammoth task. The thought of facing family, friends, or colleagues can be intimidating, especially if these are the same folks to whom you declared your now-failed venture or goal.

But Wait, There’s a Silver Lining

Understanding these impacts isn’t about painting a bleak picture; it’s about knowing what you’re up against. When you can identify the various ways failure affects you, you can tailor your recovery strategies accordingly.

For example, recognizing that your cognitive function might be impaired can encourage you to step back and take a breather before making any big decisions. If you’re feeling socially withdrawn, knowing that it’s a common response to failure might just give you the nudge you need to reach out for support.

The point is that failure is like an unwelcome houseguest who shows up unannounced and creates chaos. While you can’t always prevent it from knocking on your door, you can control how you deal with it while it’s in your space.

And sometimes, once you get to know it a bit, you may find that it’s not as terrifying as you first thought. It might even have a lesson or two to teach you.

So, even when failure is doing a number on you, remember: you have the tools to cope, to bounce back, to rise stronger than before. And each time you do, you rob failure of a little more of its power to bring you down.

Now, isn’t that a comforting thought? 🌈

How to Overcome Failure Comprehensively? – The 12-Step Action Plan

Part One – Winning the Outer Game

Okay, enough philosophizing. Let’s get down to the brass tacks. Here is what you need to start doing immediately after facing any failure that has some impact on you.

1. Take Time to Reflect, but Don’t Dwell

Reflecting on your failure is good; dwelling on it is not. Set aside some time to think through what went wrong, write down your observations if you find them helpful, and then move on.

Don’t let your mind become a revolving door of self-criticism and regret.

2. Talk About It

We get it, talking about failure isn’t fun. But please open up!

Whether it’s with a trusted friend, family member, or even a professional, sharing your experience can offer new perspectives and emotional relief.

3. Make an Actionable Plan

A failure often feels more manageable when you have a plan to tackle it.

Create specific, achievable goals that will help you overcome the hurdles that led to your failure. This is the “Okay, let’s try this again” phase.

4. Acquire New Skills, If Necessary

If your failure stemmed from a lack of skills or knowledge, consider this your nudge to level up.

It is time to upgrade your skills smartly. Identify your strengths. Check the skills that employers love.

Find out the most sought-after transferable skills and finally identify the transferable skills in you that are valuable in the market.

Take a course, read books, or seek mentorship—whatever you need to succeed the next time.

5. Reengage, but Start Small

Don’t try to conquer the world right off the bat. Start with a small project or task that you can complete successfully.

These small wins will rebuild your confidence and make tackling bigger challenges less daunting.

6. Keep a Failure Journal

This isn’t as gloomy as it sounds. A failure journal can help you keep track of your mistakes and what you’ve learned from them.

Think of it as a self-improvement tool—a diary of your journey toward becoming the best version of yourself.

Part 2 – Winning the Inner Game

Okay, we’ve already chatted about the nitty-gritty, action-oriented stuff, but let’s talk a little about mindset, shall we?

It’s one thing to know the “how-to” when it comes to handling failure. But it’s another thing to genuinely believe in your ability to bounce back.

7. The Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

The way you think about failure largely depends on your mindset. People with a fixed mindset tend to believe that abilities and talents are innate and unchangeable. They view failure as a reflection of their intelligence and an identity that is to be avoided.

Meanwhile, those with a growth mindset see abilities as malleable qualities that can be developed through dedication and hard work. Failure, for them, is just an invitation to grow and learn.

Be honest with yourself. Which camp are you in? If you’re leaning toward a fixed mindset, don’t sweat it. Mindsets can change, and recognizing where you stand is the first step toward a shift.

8. Redefine Failure

How about we redefine what failure means to us? Instead of treating it as this awful, end-of-the-world situation, consider it as feedback or as a “not yet” scenario.

When you were a kid learning to ride a bike, falling off didn’t make you think, “Well, I guess cycling is not for me.” You probably got back on, scraped knees and all, and kept pedaling until you got it right. Somewhere along the way, many of us lose that child-like resilience and start treating failure as final.

So the next time you face a setback, remember: it’s not a “no”; it’s a “not yet.”

9. Be Kind to Yourself, Too

Amid all this talk about rising from the ashes, it’s easy to forget the importance of self-compassion. You don’t have to be your harshest critic. Allow yourself the same kindness and understanding you’d offer a friend in a similar situation.

Berating yourself won’t change the past, but it can certainly affect your future in a negative way.

And let’s be clear: being kind to yourself doesn’t mean shirking responsibility for your mistakes. It simply means treating yourself with the same empathy and understanding you’d offer someone else.

10. Pay it Forward

As you get better at handling your failures and turning them into opportunities for personal growth, you become well-equipped to help others do the same.

Imagine being the mentor or guide you wish you had when you were navigating through your failures. Sharing your experiences and lessons can not only help others but also reinforce your own learning and resilience.

11. The Long Game: Resilience and Fortitude

The most crucial aspect of handling failure is the development of resilience and fortitude. How you rise from a fall determines the strength of your character. The more you navigate through failures, the more resilient you become. Over time, you’ll find that setbacks no longer have the same power to bring you down.

So take this journey one step at a time. Don’t rush through the process of dealing with failure; it’s through these trials that you’ll find your most authentic self.

12. Seek Professional Guidance Through Coaching or Therapy

Now, you’re awesome, but you’re not a superhero—and even superheroes have mentors, right? Sometimes, talking things out with an unbiased third party can be incredibly helpful. That’s where coaching and therapy come into play.

Why Coaching?

A coach can offer you strategic advice tailored specifically to your situation. They’re like your personal cheerleader with a playbook. Having been trained to identify potential pitfalls and opportunities for growth, a coach can guide you through your failure recovery plan step-by-step. They can help you set attainable goals, hold you accountable, and provide you with practical tools to navigate through your failure.

Or Maybe Therapy?

On the other hand, therapy offers a space to explore your emotional responses to failure and look at any underlying patterns that might be holding you back. It’s less about strategic planning and more about self-discovery and emotional understanding. If your failure has hit you hard and shaken your self-esteem or caused anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, therapy can be a lifeline.

Why Not Both?

Some people choose to engage in both coaching and therapy concurrently. The two can be complementary. While therapy helps you understand yourself better and deal with emotional fallout, coaching focuses on actionable steps to move you forward.

Get Recommendations and Do Your Research

It’s crucial to find a coach or therapist who’s the right fit for you. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations or read online reviews. Most professionals offer a first consultation for free or at a reduced rate, giving you a chance to see if their approach resonates with you.

Investing in coaching or therapy is an investment in yourself. Remember, you’re working on overcoming failure, not just for this one incident but as a life skill that will benefit you time and again.

The Big Takeaway

Life is messy, complicated, and full of ups and downs. It’s a blend of successes and failures, and that’s what makes it so rich and instructive. Each failure is a chapter in the book of your life, and trust me, the most compelling stories are never straightforward. They have twists and turns, highs and lows, and heroes who overcome adversity.

So the next time you stumble and fall, take a deep breath and remember that you’re writing a riveting tale of resilience, learning, and growth. You’re not alone in this journey. We’ve all been there, and we’re all a work in progress. And, that’s perfectly okay.

Here’s the thing: You’re a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. So be proud of your scars, your failures.

They’re proof that you tried, and that’s a lot more than can be said for those who never dared to venture beyond their comfort zone.

Cheers to you, to failures, and to the incredible journey that we call life. 🎉

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