How to reframe failure: 6 steps

You failed.

There are various reasons why you failed.

Maybe your business lacked capital or you misused it.

Or you jumped the gun on essential steps in building your product and ended up with something that nobody wanted.

You didn’t communicate your vision clearly enough for everyone to understand and embrace.

You lacked resources. Or resourcefulness.

Maybe you chose the wrong business partner.

Maybe your people skills suck and you are too blind to see it. Remember: people do business with people they know, like, trust and value.

Think of your failure as a wound: weep bitter tears, care for it, wait for your wound to heal and move on.

Here is our list of 6 steps you can take to deal with your failure and reframe it:

1. take time to mourn

It hurts. Even if this wound is not physical, it hurts like hell.

Failure is highly emotional. Take your time to cry, stay in for a few days, TV binge-watching and eat a lot of chocolate or ice cream.

If you’re really angry, find a way to purge your anger in a positive way: don’t drown yourself in alcohol, go to the gym and sweat it out.

Don’t take it out on your friends and family, go punch a few bags at your local boxing centre.

2. even if you failed, YOU are not a failure

This is the most important thing you need to understand: failure is not a personality trait, it doesn’t define who you are.

This particular step helps you put a little emotional distance between you, as a person and failure as a result.

This is the aha moment that Oprah was speaking about. As soon as you realize it, the closer you are to healing your wound.

3. what, when or why

Remember when your mother applied antibacterial powder to your wound and breathed upon it to make it all better?

This is what you must do now: apply healing treatment.

Because you are now emotionally detached from your failure, you can see it as it is: a situation that needs analysis.

Together with your team or a close friend, analyze the problem at hand.

What happened, when did it happen and most importantly, why?

Be true to yourself and put your ego aside for the moment.

4. turn it into a learning experience

Now you know exactly what went wrong and why. You have a list of should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.

Take your bullet points and turn them into processes or checking lists or any other filters that can help you prevent further mistakes from happening.

5. don’t listen to what other people have to say about your failure

Don’t allow other people to put you down because you failed.

People that make other people feel bad about themselves speaks volumes about what kind of persons they are.

You don’t use salt to heal your wound, do you?

6. back in business

Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up.

Chinese proverb

This is what it’s all about: everyone makes mistakes but only few are mentally strong to get back up and keep going.

What if Jack Ma gave up after failing twice with his early business companies? He wouldn’t have founded Alibaba, one of the most valuable technology companies in the world.

If you can not get used to failure — just like a boxer — if you can’t get used to [being] hit, how can you win?

Jack Ma

What if Steve Jobs gave up when he was fired from Apple, the same company he founded?

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

Steve Jobs

What if Elon Musk gave up after so many of his rockets crashed?

Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.

Elon Musk

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