Of the many lessons life has taught me over the years, this must rank right up there with the best – If you have never tasted failure, you’ll never know the smell of success.
Failure never discriminates. Sooner or later, it strikes everybody. Let’s face it, all of us have known it at some stage, specially in our professional lives. And all of us have come out of it, with flying colours.
In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons that makes professionals feel they have failed in their lives is loss of job.
Different people deal with job loss differently. The unfortunate event often forces many into a spell of deep depression. In fact, in some extreme cases individuals go as far as attempting suicide.
But is failure so bad?
Across the world, only two types of people remain unaffected by failure – super humans and slimy slaves. And if you don’t fall in either of these categories, congratulations, you’re in good company.
So, before we get down to discussing how to deal with failure, let’s examine some of the common changes people experience in such situations:
Loss of identity – From a position of power, privileges and perks to nothing overnight, job loss can make the best of us go through a severe sense of loss of identity.
Regret – A feeling that I did so much for the organisation, sacrificed family life… my health, gave so many years of my life for so long, for this?
Lowered self esteem – Am I really of any worth? Do I really have it in me to take on life? People in creative fields, actors, athletes, even politicians often go through such emotions in the face of failure.
Relationship blues – For a person whose whole existence revolved around his colleagues and business associates for a long time, suddenly feels an intense vacuum in life. The loss of that cosy arrangement, of getting plucked out and thrown out of this comfortable web can hit people hard in trying times.
Behavioural changes – Many people start avoiding friends, exhibit a clear lack of interest in day-to-day activities, become short tempered, exhibit a social isolation syndrome, even start feeling helpless, all of which may lead to suicidal tendencies in extreme cases.
People in such stressful situations often start imagining things. More things happen to them in their minds than in reality.
So, what should one do to deal with failure?
To start with, give these people a slight nudge, a push in the right direction and a healthy dose of positivity.
Over here, let me share with you some of the things I did at a personal level to face failure.
Accept – Living in denial mode never helps. I accepted what had happened. I reflected, never deflected anything.
Appreciate – It was time for me to count my blessings. I looked at myself. Hey, I’m healthy, my family supports me, I have decent savings, I still have some friends and I am wiser by the experience. Not everyone gets so lucky… and the blessings kept adding up.
Activate – I took a small little break. I tried my best not to panic. Most importantly, I stayed calm. I utilised the time I had with me to gather my thoughts. Then, I made a list of my contacts, my business associates, anybody who could help. I parked my ego. I informed everybody I knew of the situation. I opened all doors and windows and ventilators. I drew inspiration from whoever I could, including politicians… because let’s face it, nobody knows the art of bouncing back better than them.
Accommodate – I was ready to make a fresh beginning. If need be, I was ready to redefine my career goals. I was even ready to take a little beating in terms of position, remuneration and profiling. But, the important thing was, I believed in myself and was secure in the knowledge that I am a good professional and nobody could hold me back for long.
And before I knew it, I was out of it. The whole experience taught me that failure is just a phase that needs to be met head on. I knew I would get the hell out of it, come what may… and that helped.
So, go ahead, friends. Treat failure with a positive frame of mind. Gather the experience, collect all the wisdom. You’re just a tiny step away from success.
Author: Dr. V. P. Sajeevan, CEO, ESY India