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Change The Way You Think About Failure to Accelerate your Business

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

During this COVID-19 crisis, we have to change a lot of things. Especially how we think.

In sales, a lot can depend on the outcome and results of our efforts. If we succeed or progress with the sale, we tend to increase our motivation, improve our self-esteem and build our credibility.

If we lose a sale or don’t progress, it tends to have the opposite effect. Much of our motivation is dependent upon extrinsic or external events; those things that we often don’t have control over. The increase in control that intrinsic or internal motivation gives us can help us improve our self-worth and esteem.

If you are like me, your moods and emotions are affected by the results we achieve…if we win, we feel good, if we don’t succeed, we feel down and unable to lift ourselves.

Much of this has to do with the way we focus our attention. When we concentrate on what we are gaining, our emotions are affected in a positive sense, which drives us forward as we are focusing on what we can achieve. Our viewpoint is positive; it feeds our positive emotions and makes us feel good about ourselves. This drives us to perform better as we like the results we are achieving and aids us to find creative ways to improve our activities. We feel that we are ‘winning’.

If we are not succeeding (in whatever way we use to judge that success), it tends to make us feel more negative because of how we focus on those results. They make us feel that we are not as good as we could be and this has a detrimental effect on the way we view ourselves. We feel that we are ‘losing’.

How can we change the impact that failure has on our performance? Instead of thinking of ourselves as ‘losing’ by not succeeding, a swift change in the way we view the situation can have a dramatic effect on the performance we create. Instead of thinking about what we have lost, how about thinking ‘what can I learn from this?’ It may sound like simple semantics, but it actually makes a huge difference in the way we feel about ourselves.

When we tell ourselves we have lost something, we focus on the pain and on the past that got us here. We think about things we could have, should have and ought to have done, and often chastise ourselves for not doing them. We often feel bad about what we could have achieved and so can’t concentrate on improvements that need to be made.

Instead, when we tell ourselves that we could learn something from this, it triggers a different mindset. To learn something, we have to concentrate on the lessons gained and the future changes we could make to improve. Learning means identifying the changes that will make a difference for us and our prospects. Those changes will help us achieve different results, as we now concentrate on the future, rather than the past.

From now on, think about how you can learn from your experiences, good or bad. By learning, you build your self-esteem and self-worth and this increases your confidence. That confidence could prove to be decisive in your future success. It’s certainly better than the alternative, which will only bring us negativity and the only thing we will get from that address is bitterness and resentment.

Try it, even if only for a short period of time.

Wade Younger, MBA, CSP, CSM, TEFL

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