So Plan A didn’t work! What are you going to do? Failure is not the end of the road. It is just a pit stop on the way to success. But, what should you do on that pit stop?
First off, bravo! At least you were willing to fail! Being willing to fail takes Courage. There are far too many people who let the fear of failure keep them from trying anything outside their comfort zone.
But, now you have failed. You might be dealing with a lot of emotions – dissappointment, anger, or even embarrassment. Plus those emotions may not even be coming from you. They could be coming from a boss or someone you care about at home.
So what do you do now? It’s time to take advantage of the pit stop.
The 3 Step Pit Stop after Failure
In Nascar or Formula One racing, pit stops are used to evaluate the condition of the vehicle, communicate with the pit crew, and refuel. We can do that when we fail as well.
The first step we all need to take after a failure is to look in the mirror. Playing the blame game, where we focus our attention on circumstances or other people, will stunt our growth. When we avoid responsibility and shift blame, we are basically abdicating our Duty to learn from our mistakes.
- What could I have done differently?
- What did I not foresee or prepare for?
- Were there any warning signs? Why didn’t I pay attention to those signs?
Most of our failures do not occur in a vacuum. Other people were involved or at least observing us before things went wrong. They might even have faced similar challenges or are directly affected by the outcomes.
- Who has been in my position before? What can I learn from them?
- Did I ignore advice? To whom do I need to humble myself and ask for their counsel now?
- Who on my team (at work or at home) can help me regroup and find new strategies?
So Plan A didn’t work! What are we going to do now! We need to see this failure as temporary. It is an opportunity to regroup and move forward with what we just learned from the failure. Having a growth mindset, begins with the outlook that failure is necessary for growth. So the failure part is taken care of! Now it is time for the growth!
- Find new perspectives to fuel your growth.
- Find new tools to implement because your current tools didn’t work.
- Commit to Plan B. And if that doesn’t work, commit to not stopping until you hit Plan Z.
The Bottom Line:
If we think we can get where we want to go in life without experiencing failure, we are delusional. Everything worth having usually involves failure. Set backs are a critical part of the learning process.
Does failure cause pain and discomfort? Heck yeah! But growth is never comfortable. That’s why they are called “Growing Pains”!
To run the race laid out for us and to run it well, we must be willing to take pit stops. We must be willing to Evaluate, Communicate, and Refuel. Then we must get back into the race.
We can’t compete, let alone win in life, if we stay in the pit area and refuse to get back on the track. Failure is only a pit stop. The race is still going on.
Making a pit stop does not determine our success. What we do with that pit stop does.
What else do we need to learn from failure?
Dave Anderson is coauthor of the Amazon Best-Seller Becoming a Leader of Character – Six Habits that Make or Break a Leader at Work and at Home with his father General James L. Anderson (USA Retired).
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