Afraid to fail? How to be resilient when you face rejection.

Resilience helps you to try again, a little bit stronger and smarter.

Do you lack confidence in your ability to achieve something? Are your expectations so high that anything less than perfection means failure? Do you worry about financial difficulties, losing a job, damaging relationships or your reputation? Do you feel the pressure of succeeding according to society’s standards?

You’re not alone. Almost everyone has felt afraid to fail in one way or another.

Resilience is the mindset that failure has an upside. It’s also a set of skills that can help you bounce back from the feeling of rejection. When you don’t fear failure, you’re freer to take risks and innovate instead of protecting yourself by doing the same old thing.

Resilience is realistic optimism.
When you believe difficulties can work out for the best, staying engaged and open-minded is more interesting than shutting down or forcing your way. As you learn to fail forward, you’re willing and able to participate in solutions different than you first envisioned.

In contrast, the opposite of resilience is the weakness that comes from rigidity. Naïve optimism is wishful thinking without practical assessment. You don’t try to learn anything from failure or rejection. You discount any reality other than your own as you wait for your vision to materialize.

How to strengthen resilience.
There are many ways to build your resilience. Increasing your self-awareness is one of the most critical. Here are three simple things you can do to strengthen how you respond to everyday situations which will help you turn problems around for the positive in a realistic way.

The power of yet. Add the word “yet’ to how you describe what you are currently working on. For example, I haven’t created a solution yet. Yet is a powerful word that taps into the positive future while recognizing the truth of the present. It relieves all-or-nothing thinking.

Gratitude. Regularly note what you appreciate, approve, admire and pay positive attention to. Add phrases like “I appreciate what you’re saying, or I admire what you’ve done” to your daily dialogue. Build the habit of being grateful to keep you realistically optimistic when needed.

Flexibility and adaptability. Practice saying yes to minor things that disappoint you. Accepting failure or rejection doesn’t make you weaker. It frees your mental and emotional energy for better solutions or deeper learning. Practice by driving to the furthest spot without a fuss when you can’t find a parking space up front. If you get stood up for a meeting, instead of stewing, reach out to understand why.

Resilience begins with a pause. 
When adversity hits, feeling paralyzed, overwhelmed or frustrated is natural. Pulling back with a deep breath is the simplest way to interrupt negative feelings. Take a five-minute break to recognize the thoughts causing distressing feelings if you can. Reframe your view of the situation with yet, getting grateful and saying yes to conserve energy for moving forward.

You don’t need to fear failing. You can learn to accept and make good use of it. With resilience, failure is just a word encouraging you to try again, just a little bit smarter.

Til next week,
Jo-Aynne Von Born, Executive Coach

Work Your Authentic Genius.
Grow and flourish using your own intelligence!
1. What character strengths, relationships or skills do you have confidence in?
2. How can you creatively apply these resources to strengthen your resilience to a current or past failure?
3. What trigger word or phrase can remind you of these resources when needed?

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