Everybody fails. And while failure is inevitable, coping well with failure is not. Failures come packaged in numerous varieties like that time you sounded stupid in front of your boss, or that time you talked more than you listened, or that time you lost the account? Mistakes at work are a special kind of hell, are they not? When you fail, whether you know it or not, you have choices to make. How you react to failure will either sabotage future endeavors or strengthen them. How you handle a bad situation will determine if you get to emerge from the fiery pit unscathed. Here are three ways you may be failing at failure.

  •  Fail and Flail: You make a mistake and you can’t get past it. Sometimes people get so caught up in the shock and consequences of a mistake that everything they do afterwards is spoiled by the bad experience. Instead of wallowing, try owning the mistake. Understand it intellectually, react to it emotionally, and make a conscious decision to move on.
  •  The Hamster Wheel of Failure: You make the same mistake over and over again. When failures are repeated, take a moment to define the problem. Is it one problem or is it something more complex? When you identify the reason take steps to correct it. Make a plan to approach the situation differently or consider getting feedback from someone like a trusted mentor.
  • Fear of Failure: You fail because you’re stuck in your comfort zone. While playing it safe appears to protect you from making mistakes, it really prevents you from seizing opportunities. You can’t learn anything new unless you try something new. Start slowly by taking on projects that are challenging or different from what you’re used to.

Failure is painful but it’s not fatal. Make the best out of  imperfection. You can choose to avoid failure, be hampered by it, or learn from it. How do you respond to failure?

tina imperial

Tina Imperial is a public relations manager for MWN, mother and lifelong learner. Based in Indiana, she blogs, manages online communities and assists with furthering business objectives for small companies. An adept relationship manager, Tina also provides creative and strategic support. She tweets about business, social media and digital beauty @imperialtina. In her spare time she cultivates her sense of humor.


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