I received so much incredibly powerful content from recent interviews with local entrepreneurs that I wanted to offer a second ‘2.0’ version from the initial article titled 'Experts Share: How to Bounce Back from Failure.'
The individuals in this issue will not only share their perspective on ‘how’ they have attained success, but just as importantly, how they have successfully persisted through failure and setbacks. Whereas others may have given up when obstacles seemingly appeared too intimidating, these individuals learned to associate failure as an essential element of the success equation. By taking risk and learning from failure, they became extremely resilient and bounced back each and every time.
My friend Eric Gabriel is a leg amputee as a result from incredible wear on his knee during a tenure playing high-arc traveling softball. While making the grim decision to remove his leg was one of the most difficult choices of his life, the pain resulting from not doing so was even more unbearable. While others may have felt they would be losing a limb, Eric knew he would be gaining his life back – Eric’s story is so amazing that I asked him to be a contributing author in our Leading The Way group book series.
Eric is motivated and inspired by movies, and one particular movie is Rocky VI where the over-the-hill boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is talking to his son who cannot understand why his dad wants to return to the ring to fight once again. Rocky says to his son, “It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward - how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done son.”
Through wisdom from his personal setbacks and experiences, Eric shared with me that he would rephrase Rocky’s quote this way: “It’s not just how winning is done; it’s more importantly how living is done – life.”
Most of us are not prize fighters like Rocky and we are not Olympians. We all share the fact we have mountains and struggles to battle. Yet, it is because we can relate to adversity we can overcome it as well.
My friend Neal Anderson is a Southwestern Consulting executive and sales training guru who could write a book on persistence and finding that ring in the rubble opportunity. In fact, because he has such an amazing life story he is also a contributing author in our Leading The Way group book series.
Neal shares that “failure is when you really learn. Every time I heard a ‘no’ from a prospective customer, it developed my character and made me more interested in finding out why they did not say ‘yes.’ Success requires failure yet most people do not understand that success and achievement often lie just behind the next door.”
Neal continued explaining his philosophy on failure: “From my experience, the biggest reason people do not reach their goals is that they are afraid of rejection in some manner. They are afraid of failing in some way. Yet I've learned everything about who I am from the times I have failed - not when I have succeeded. Success is the accumulation of enough failures that you learn the lesson from!”
I was honored to get wisdom and feedback from Joe Clouatre, President/CEO of Innovative Business Partners, Inc. Joe has an incredibly proven track record of helping executives and companies excel through adversity. Joe shared, “It is not a case of whether a company will fail or struggle, it is a case of when a company will fail or struggle. Even the best companies go through challenging times. The important thing is to be able to recognize the early warning signs, or early failure signs, that always exist.”
Joe has an 8-step process for turning a company around that should itself be a best-selling book. His overall conclusion is that you should not wait until your company is struggling or in trouble to initiate the 8 steps - these 8 steps should be performed on a regular basis as part of running your business.
Joe is spot on. His business feedback relates to our lives as well. It is not whether we will have adversity in our life, it is when we ultimately will. Facing challenges is just part of our existence yet we can also learn so much from the ‘early warning’ signs to avoid failure. Do not be frustrated by the fact failure and challenges exist, be frustrated by not accepting setbacks to limit you and stop your success.
When we have the right attitude, we can learn from our mistakes and become more experienced individuals. As the Dalai Lama stated, “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”
Why though are these concepts so difficult to apply in our daily lives? Why do so many of us quit so often or get frustrated when things do not go our way? So many times we expect life to be easy, and when it is not we beat ourselves up - we are much too hard on ourselves.
One of the secrets to bouncing back from failure and actually using adversity to our advantage is that we must ask ourselves better questions to get the results we want. Meaning, when things do not go our way, instead of asking ‘What did we do wrong?’ we should ask ‘What can we learn from this experience?’
Moreover, when we are stopped short of our goal for some reason or when we fail, instead of asking ‘Why does this always happen to me?’, replace that negative question with ‘How does this experience make me a better person and a more educated individual?’
This belief system is about mental conditioning and it takes hard work to live with this philosophy. But believe me, when you apply and live with this approach to goals and dreams, the world and every experience you desire is at your fingertips.
You can never lose unless you give up.
You can always learn something, even when you do not get your way, but only when you ask yourself the right questions. Ask yourself a bad question, you will get a bad answer. Ask yourself a good question, you will get a good answer.
Resiliency and bouncing back from failure and setbacks is as simple as understanding and applying this philosophy and approach to life. Again, failure can never beat you when you ask yourself the right questions afterward.
Whether it is a bad experience at your job, a bad relationship, disappointing feedback you received, rejection and failure regarding something you have pursued, etc. – it does not matter. Even when bad, frustrating incidents occur, you still are a better, more educated and 'seasoned' individual as a result - but only when you ask yourself the right questions.
To Your Continued Success!
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