As a professional, you probably hear the word failure and associate negative emotions with it. If you've failed in the past, it was likely a miserable experience for you and something you want to avoid in the future at all costs. But there's a problem with that.
Failure isn't a bad thing all the time. In fact, failure can be the first step to a huge breakthrough -- you just have to be able to change your perspective.
Take a look at Thomas Edison. He didn't view his inventions that didn't work as failures. He referred to it instead as finding 10,000 ways that won't work. The key to failure is accepting it and transforming it to power future successes. But how do you do that?
Step One: Determine Why You Failed
While you may want to push your failure out of your mind and avoid thinking about it at all costs, this won't help you. Instead, spend some time looking at your failure objectively.
Try your best to take the emotional sting out of the failure and really analyze what happened. Are there clear reasons why you failed? Learn the steps in overcoming professional failures so you're ready to deal with them when they come your way.
If you can't look at a failure objectively enough on your own to draw some conclusions, reach out to others you trust and ask for their opinions. Turning to a family member or a close friend may be easiest, but don't use these people as a source of information unless they can really give you the honest feedback you need.
Be courageous in your quest for answers, too. If your failure was not getting the promotion you wanted, respectively ask your boss why you weren't chosen. Have an honest conversation and let them know you truly want to turn this into a learning experience for the future.
Step Two: Determine How You Can Turn It Around
Instead of accepting the failure and moving on, spend some time thinking about how you can turn this loss into a future win. Take the time to face your failure head-on and look at all your options for the future.
This may mean talking with a career counselor and focusing on self-development so you can clearly see your goals and options available to you. You may want to go back to school or change your job title. Whatever you decide to do, try your best to use this failure to help you move forward and do what you really want to do.
Step Three: Take Advantage of Opportunities When They Arise
Don't be so stuck in your failure you can't see what's in front of you or be too afraid to try again. While you're working on moving forward and turning the failure into a win, keep your eyes open. Be ready to take advantage of the right opportunity when it comes your way.
Take time to consider your future and the direction you want to move in. Write down where you want to be in five years and what your dream job ultimately looks like. Then consider what needs to happen to meet your five-year goals and seize any opportunity that aligns with those actions.
Don't be afraid to make big changes if you feel the need to, but don't make the mistake of acting out of fear of failure and running from your life.
Step Four: Take Consistent Action
Once you've reframed your way of thinking and can look past your failure into the future, ask yourself how you need to get there. Look at your vision every day and take action toward it -- no matter how small it is.
By taking consistent action, you are moving forward toward your goals, even if it may feel small. Think about it. If you do one thing each day, by the end of the month what will you have accomplished?
The key is you don't have to see failure as the worst thing in the world. Let it be a tool you use to keep moving forward and redefine your life when necessary. Rather than dwelling on the awfulness of your failure, take the time to look at it as a learning experience so you can succeed in the future.