How to Bounce Back From Failure Like a Boss

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Stop feeling like a failure

Failure is an F word you need to embrace.

Failures aren’t as scary and life-ending as we make them out to be. In fact, there’s gold that can be mined from our slip-ups and setbacks.

That’s easier said than done, so here are a few tips to help you rebound the next time you’re feeling like a failure or down about a mistake or stumble. 

How to Rebound from Setbacks

Don’t push away your emotions; embrace them.

Give yourself permission to release any feelings of anger, guilt, or self-blame so that you can move on. Remember, you’re human and bound to have moments when you don’t perform at your best. As much as your inner perfectionist rails against that idea and chastises you, be kind to yourself.

Apply the 10/10/10 test.

Slow down your thinking and separate fact from fiction in your mind: will this concern matter 10 weeks from now? 10 months from now? 10 years? Your answers will put things in perspective.

Check your self-talk.

You may be prone to catastrophic statements like, “I feel so stupid” or “Nothing is going according to plan.” Unhook from unhelpful thinking with reframing. For example, “I keep messing up at work” becomes “I’m having the thought that I’m not accomplishing enough, and I feel frustrated because of it.” Balanced self-talk lowers stress and boosts problem-solving. 

Connect to recalibrate.

It’s tempting to retreat and wallow alone. Resist the urge to isolate. Call or text the one buddy who puts a smile on your face, no matter what.

Go on the offense.

Instead of shuddering away from failure, build immunity to it. This process, called desensitization, involves gradually exposing yourself to scary situations until the anxiety dissipates. The more comfortable you get having difficult conversations, for example, the easier they become (and the more your confidence grows as a result).

  • Look for low-stakes opportunities to start showing your work to new people, for example.
  • Set up a regular one-on-one with your boss.
  • Create a weekly date night with your partner so you can have important conversations. 

You can’t and won’t please everyone all the time. Setbacks are a natural consequence of going for your goals. Remember, at the end of the day the opinion that matters the most is yours.

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Hi, I'm Melody

I help smart, sensitive high-achievers overcome insecurity and overwhelm so they can thrive in the workplace.


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