My own experience tells me that it helps to befriend and manage our failures. Each failure makes us discover a latent strength of ours. Each one has the potential to open up fresh vistas in our lives.
Yes, it also helps to take a step back to evaluate our successes, so the critical factors behind those could be understood better.
There is no cut-and-dried formula for managing failures. However, I do believe that a renewed focus on the following factors can help us in getting more out of our failures.
• Giving up Self-pity
It does not get us anywhere. It only ties us down to a past which can’t be rewound and rerun. Negative things do happen. It does not mean that all others are as happy as they appear to be. Let us look up ourselves in the mirror of our soul. The nastiest comment made to us could have a grain of truth which could be a great lesson for us to get out of the emotional wilderness.
• Doing a Root Cause Analysis
What makes us bite the dust? Over-confidence or lack of confidence? Wrong tactics? Faulty implementation? Taking someone’s effort for granted? Let us resist the temptation to blame others for our failures. Let us look inwards. Let us introspect. What did we do wrong? Friends and well-wishers can help us to figure this out. Going forward, the trick is in ensuring we do not make the same mistakes again.
• Understanding Core Values
What are our core values? Despite adversity, can we stick to them? This is not to say that we should lack flexibility. At the same time, it is crucial to remain connected to our inner core, around which our universe can be rebuilt with ease.
Did we fail because we slipped on any of our parameters of discipline? Did we believe someone and acted on misleading information without cross-checking what the ground realities were? How can we avoid jumping to conclusions and acting on impulses? Do we plan to spend some quiet time with ourselves and etch out a plan in detail before rolling it on for implementation?
This might sound too simplistic, but believe me, it is not. Respect for others’ time is a virtue effective managers invariably have. Taking our own commitments seriously is a quality that all successful people have. Delivering results in a time-bound manner is one of the single most important factors determining our success in life.
• Physical Fitness
Mind rules over body. But if the body were to revolt, what are we left with? Abusing and neglecting our bodies lands us in a crisis situation sooner or later. We suffer. Our near and dear ones suffer. Let us take care of ourselves better, so the body will support us through the vicissitudes of life.
In our desire for advancements in career, we often take on assignments for which we do not really have the domain knowledge. This is a good way – to challenge ourselves and to enrich our knowledge bank. Learning the basics from a subject expert never hurt anyone. Subduing our ego while seeking support from others helps.
• Humanity and Common Sense
Being humane in our approach minimizes our chances of failure. Are there others who care for us so much that they will alert us of the pitfalls on the way to our achieving a major goal? There is pretty little we can do all by ourselves. Delegation helps. So does networking with those who have a more pragmatic approach than we do.
Habits Leading to Failure
Generally speaking, the following habits could prove to be a recipe for disaster.
• Concern about job and not career
• Earning but not learning
• Focus on Branding ourselves and not on our work content
• Higher concern about what others are doing
Evaluating our Successes
The following factors help us in evaluating and then replicating our successes better:
• Understanding our own words and beliefs;
• Smallest of actions is much greater than the largest of intentions;
• ‘Now’ is the only time available;
• Never tell a lie; it does not help in the long run;
• Don’t be too eager to make a promise; if made, never break it!
Some Basic Truths
Some basic truths of life that we need to realize and imbibe:
• That human worth has nothing to do with status;
• Power must always be balanced by humility and a willingness to listen and learn;
• Arrogance is never justifiable;
• Privilege always entails responsibility.
It is said that ‘Success is a bastard and Failure is an orphan’. Let us try checking the DNA of our successes, so we have a better chance of replicating those in future. As to failures, let us try and adopt the hapless orphans we run into in our careers and lives!