Losing your job or seeing your side hustle fail may leave you feeling majorly disappointed. But if there’s anything some of the world’s most successful people have shown us, it’s that failing can be just the opposite — a learning experience, a fresh start, and just what you need to move forward.
Samantha Ettus, keynote speaker and the bestselling author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction, agrees. “The times in your life when you have learned the most are likely not the times when all was smooth sailing. In fact, when we’re challenged, we tend to self-reflect. This is progress. This is growth. And this is what failing forward is all about,” she says. Scroll down to see more of her tips on how to use a misstep as motivation to keep going.
1. Own it. This one is straightforward and simple. “Apologize — without a ’but’ — and move on,” she says. “Don’t cover up your mistake.” Keep in mind it’s important not to take yourself too seriously either. As Ettus points out, there’s not a person on the planet who hasn’t survived mistakes and setbacks. “The most successful among us are those who move on fast,” she notes.
2. Ask for help. “People love being asked for advice,” Ettus says. “Use your mistake as an opportunity to go to others and ask how you can avoid this kind of situation in the future.” At work, this might be your boss or a colleague you admire; in your personal life, this could be a mentor or trusted friend. In any instance, remember that “your vulnerability offers you a chance to tighten existing relationships and even forge new ones,” she says. Consider us officially empowered.
3. Turn it into a story. Ettus says that understanding the art of genuine storytelling is a great way to turn your lemons into lemonade. “The best thing about a failure is that it can be turned into a story. Put your story together with an arc; include the mistake, the why, and the lesson. Voila!” she says.
4. Don’t let your failure define you. Many times, failure comes from trying something that was out of reach to begin with, or doing something that you (or others) haven’t done previously. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is something to commend yourself for in the first place and should be used to shelter some of the blow. Ettus says, “Don’t define yourself by your mistakes; brush yourself off and move on. The longer you extend your self-criticisms, the longer others will remember it too.”
5. Look at your highlights. “Now that you’ve had time to recover from your setback, it’s time to look at your successes,” she says. “To do it effectively, connect the dots between your highlights. Where did you start? Where are you today? It’s time to infuse yourself with confidence and positivity again.” With confidence renewed, you’ll be back in the game in no time.
What’s the toughest setback you’ve faced? Tell us about it and how you moved forward @BritandCo.
(Photos via Samantha Ettus)