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3 Keys to Leadership: Bouncing Back After an Epic Failure

“With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.” - Criss Jami

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Coming up short on your goals or letting down the people around you can make you feel guilty, embarrassed, frustrated, and even inadequate feelings that can obstruct your progress and put you in a tight position. 

The truth is, every single leader will fail multiple times, but what makes all the difference is how they view and react to those failures.

Knowing that this is part of the process, here are 3 keys to leadership and bouncing back after an epic failure.

Accept your failure

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” ― John C. Maxwell

As challenging as it might be to view failure as something to prevent from happening at all costs, you need to be able to accept your failure and recognize it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Leadership is no easy feat and roadblocks pop up every now and then. 

The important thing to keep in mind is that failure or success does not have to be a binary concept. When you fail, take the time to separate that failure from who you are as a person, then ask yourself:

  • What are the three major lessons I learned from this situation?
  • What did I do that worked?
  • What did I do that didn’t work?
  • What did I miss?
  • What could I have done differently?

Channel your emotional resilience

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou

When you encounter failure, you might feel inclined to take the easy route, retreat, and isolate yourself from everyone. However, it’s at times like these when you need to channel your emotional resilience and show everyone that you’re a force to be reckoned with.

Remember that failure is part of the process, and what matters the most isn’t that you failed but how you decide to move forward. When you encounter failure, you might feel inclined to take the easy route, retreat, and isolate yourself from everyone.

However, it’s at times like these when you need to channel your emotional resilience and show everyone that you’re a force to be reckoned with. Remember that failure is part of the process, and what matters the most isn’t that you failed but how you decide to move forward. 

Leadership is about figuring out what you want to do then inspiring others to join you on your quest –a lot of the knowledge you acquire comes from falling flat on your face. So when you do, use that failure to further fuel your goals, and trust in your emotional resilience and your ability to bounce back, because you will.

Recommit and create a new plan

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” ― Samuel Beckett


After you identified and documented the clear causes of this failure, dwelling on it further will only be a waste of time.

Instead, recommit yourself to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals and achieve epic successes. The next step is to take all that you’ve learned into account then create a plan of action that will put you one step closer to your objectives. 

Put your analytical mind to work and brainstorm innovative solutions to where you want to get and the most efficient ways to get there or start from scratch and use the emotional energy from your failure to drive you forward.

The Takeaway

“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” – Eloise Ristad

How you react to failure ultimately determines how you and your organization can rise above challenges. So, summon your emotional resilience and use the lessons you’ve learned from that failure to bounce back, whether that means adjusting your strategy or implementing a new one.

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