Your Idea Didn’t Fail: You Just Got Feedback

Everybody fails. There comes a time when even the most successful leaders have a strategy that fails or a plan that backfires. But how do you pick not just yourself back up, but your team that looks to you for answers, support and stability?

Remember this, a phoenix must have both wings to fly. To be the epitome of resilience, encouraging your team to rise from the ashes of disaster and soar like a phoenix, you must have an inherent supply of positivity yourself. A one-winged bird cannot remain airborne.

Here is how you can cultivate resilience and always bounce back from failure:

1. Separate yourself from the failure.
Don’t internalize the feeling— it was the plan or project that failed, not you. Detach your self-esteem from the situation; you cannot let the failure affect you in a way that causes you to shrink away from challenges later on.

Leaders tend to blame themselves, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, display fortitude and strength. This project may have failed, but have enough faith in your ideas to know that the next one will not.

2. Take an analytical approach.
Your perspective changes—and feelings of frustration and regret alleviate—when you look at the failed situation analytically. By studying the situation, taking the information and learning from it, you are prepared to apply and incorporate that newfound insight into your next project.

Broaden your mind, and use cool logic to approach any inconvenience. This will always ensure that emotion and reason are kept apart, which allows you to work out a solution in a rational way.

3. View failure as feedback.
Instead of fearing failure, relish it. Understand that failed projects are signposts guiding you along the right path. Until the incorrect method is pointed out and separated, you can’t determine what the correct method is. Failure is never final; it is simply feedback. It helps you recognize where you had erred and teaches you to reconcile your past mistakes.

Good leaders are determined, and a small dose of failure can never keep them from moving ahead with speed, precision and clarity. Learn from your mistake, and adapt to new experiences.

You stand out because of your ability to move past minor setbacks and because you are able to see failure for what it really is: an enabler, a motivator and a teacher. You are already aware of this—it dwells in your subconscious—but you must hone the ability to adapt and grow, and only then can you truly rise above.

Read the stories of people who have faced life’s toughest challenges and still found the strength to keep on going—and how you, too, can develop your resilience muscle.


Simon T. Bailey is an international speaker, writer and personal transformation strategist. He is the author of Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You, Inc., and Be the SPARK: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life. When he’s not working, he enjoys rooting for the Buffalo Bills (his hometown team).

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