“Am I getting better at changing my failure perception?”
When experiencing a challenging life transition, such as unemployment, failure is one of those heartbreaking feelings you’ve encountered.
However, have you gotten better at correcting this view of yourself? If you responded no, then it’s time for a change.
Why? Because you’ll never move ahead if you keep seeing yourself this way. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with looking back on your “lack of success” for gratitude and improvement, but you shouldn’t stay there.
If you’re reading this article, I believe you want to change these thoughts. You want to challenge the way you perceive yourself now.
Feeling Like a Failure
If you’ve been reading this blog, then you know I’m a “failure.” If you’re new here, on the hand, I’ll share why:
I’m in my 30s – an adult. Educated. Skilled. Unemployed. Can’t get 1 job offer.
It’s frustrating too. I’d never imagined my life this way.
I don’t need anybody to tell me I failed. I’ve told myself.
My thoughts were something like:
“Priscilla excelled academically but can’t get 1 job offer professionally. She just can’t get past the interview stage – when she gets there. She’s been struggling to get a job for too long. What’s wrong with her? Why is she constantly overlooked?”
Because of these thoughts, I was mad at myself. I kept dwelling on them and was only hurting myself each time.
Thinking this way only made me feel worse.
You know this challenging transition requires resilience. You must get back up and keep going when you fall.
The problem is: when you think this way you can’t, so it’s important to change your perception.
Changing the Failure Perception
With the passage of time, I realized these internal thoughts were holding me back. And, when I think about them now, I cringe. I can’t believe I allowed these thoughts to take over for so long.
I gave too much thought to the failure as if it was my identity and had to change. Though I still experience discouraging moments, I’ve moved on from them gracefully.
They no longer control me because I understand employment rejections don’t make me a failure. My inability to enter the field I studied – or any other field – doesn’t make me a failure.
I believe there’s an opportunity for me – even if it means I must create it. The result: I no longer see myself as the failure I once did.
No longer do I dwell on the rejections, disappointments, and let downs. I’m calmer about where my career is going.
I’m focusing on what I can do and am looking ahead.
Lessons I Learned After Failing
I encourage you to do the same and will share 6 lessons I learned along the way.
Lesson #1: Failing Isn’t As Bad As You Think.
You had things perfectly planned, right?
You chose a college and major. You completed your education and looked forward to joining the workforce.
But what happened?
You haven’t been able to get a job – not even in your field of study. You feel bad.
You feel you’ve failed. If only you could’ve done something differently.
Or, you graduated from college and/or grad school some time ago and cared for someone for a lengthy period. You’re ready to reenter the workforce but haven’t been successful.
You feel you’ve failed.
I can relate to both.
Upon completing college, I thought I’d get a job. I’d thought I’d get my foot in the door, do well, and move up.
Then, the reality of adulthood set in. I graduated and received not 1 job offer in my field of preparation – or outside.
As such, I took on the role of Caregiver. Since completing my time in this role, I’ve been trying to reenter the workforce but haven’t been successful.
I’ve been disappointed in more ways than one.
It was a struggle to get a job as a new grad, and it’s been even more of a struggle to reenter the workforce after a lengthy period of caregiving.
But, I’ve learned something and want to share it with you.
You failed, but you can learn from the experience. Once you accept your failure and learn from it, you can start again or even start something new – wiser than before.
If you’re frustrated and need to vent about your feelings of failure, do so. But . . . don’t stay there.
Though you failed to meet your expectations, your identity doesn’t come from it. You failed but are not a failure, so why see it as a negative thing?
Lesson #2: Doing What You Can After Failing Is More Important Than You’d Imagine.
You might’ve heard: “failure isn’t an option; it’s inevitable.” Now, you can accept this as truth because you’ve experienced it directly.
Even after failing, however, you have the opportunity to embrace growth.
Take the time to understand why you failed and what (if anything) you can improve.
Don’t let failure stop you from learning or trying new things. Do something else and enjoy it.
In my case, for example, I’ve been mentally expanding through books, videos, and blog posts, to name a few, on a variety of subjects.
I’ve also taken on a new project: blogging. Through this project I’ve not only been helping others, I’ve also been acquiring new skills.
You might not be interested in blogging, but there’s a project of interest to you. There’s some way you can help others and mentally expand. It’s all about finding it – if you haven’t already.
Do it and give it your best!
Lesson #3: The Gratitude Attitude is an Option.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. In difficulty, it’s easier to focus on the negativity surrounding us, but we must be intentional about focusing on the positives.
It’s easier said than done, but I made the choice to practice gratitude to God daily for the good gifts I receive – even my failure.
If I hadn’t been rejected by employers after college, I wouldn’t have ever experienced the role of caregiving and graduate school. When several employers turned me down, my elder welcomed me with open arms to manage her life and possessions.
If I hadn’t been rejected in my job search after several years of caregiving, I wouldn’t have ever started this blog. Additionally, I wouldn’t have ever considered the various legitimate, money-making opportunities available outside of the corporate world.
I didn’t realize these things until I became long-term unemployed, but I’m grateful.
So, I’ll ask you: what can you be grateful for when considering your failure. Please believe: When you make the choice to be grateful, you find many things to give thanks for.
Lesson #4: If You’re Stuck in the Comparison Trap, Then Label It A No-Go Zone – Now.
How much time do you spend comparing where you are right now to where others are?
You don’t have to answer but please ponder this. You already feel bad about failing, and the comparison trap makes you feel worse.
Your soul is negatively affected by these comparisons.
You become annoyed.
You become hurt.
You become sad.
You become depressed.
You become mad.
Rather than comparing and feeling worse, don’t forget your value. Don’t forget the uniqueness of your life.
Be grateful for your accomplishments and those of others. Reflect and become better through this challenge – not bitter.
How about it?
Lesson #5: Bitterness Wants to Take Over.
In life, we set up certain plans (expectations). We seek to meet these expectations with without realizing: things may not happen when we expect them to (our timing vs. God’s timing) or how we expect them to (our plans vs. God’s plans).
So, what happens when things don’t happen as we expected? When we fail?
We experience many emotions, and bitterness wants to take over.
Will you allow it to?
Will you become a bitter person or become a better person?
I failed, but I’ve chosen the latter route: become a better person. Certainly, it’s easier to give up and fall to those failure thoughts because unemployment is a hard journey.
But, becoming better has been the best choice for me. Serenity Amidst Frustration wouldn’t have been created had I chosen otherwise.
I encourage you to learn, grow, and become better after failing.
Lesson #6: Even After Failing, You Should Keep Moving.
Failing hurts, and it’s easier to throw in the towel. But, please don’t. Life goes on.
Don’t let this setback hold you down. Instead keep moving forward as opposed to regressing backward.
Be empowered by your failure. Reflect on your life, acquire wisdom, and rid yourself of timeframes.
I learned to never let a setback define what my future will look like. You shouldn’t either!
It’s not easy but keep moving through the discouragement, exhaustion, stress, frustration, and anxiety. Regardless of the failure, don’t stop believing for better.
It’s coming, so push ahead – while waiting with expectation!
From Me to You: I hope the 6 lessons shared above prove beneficial to you. I encourage you to change the perception of yourself as a failure. Choose to better yourself, do what you can in the meantime, and look ahead.
Hold Your Head Up!
P.S. What lessons have you learned from failing? Please share by commenting below.