• 3 Proven Ways to Change How You Respond To Failure

    You can’t control life’s circumstances, but you can control how you choose to respond and feel.

    Life can be complicated and filled with twists and turns, including failures, rejections, and disappointments. 

    And although you don’t get to choose everything that happens in your life, you do get to choose how you respond, how your think, and how you feel.

    Easier said than done, right?

    In the midst of disappointment, failure, or rejection, how do you move from feeling out of control to recognizing your ability to choose your response?

    1. Turn inward

    Take a few moments to check in with yourself.

    What is going on? How are you feeling? Challenge yourself to name the feelings beyond happy, sad, excited, and scared. 
    How else are you feeling? What fears are beneath your feelings?
    Next turn inward to notice how your feelings are impacting your thoughts. Catch your thoughts from running too far down the road. Be present in the moment. What is true right now?

    Example: When Sammy got turned down from her top medical school choice, she was disappointed, discouraged, and defeated. As she let those feelings rush over here, she noticed her thoughts telling herself that she is a failure. That her dream of being a doctor was stupid. That she was stupid. And while her thoughts ran full speed ahead into the future, she concluded that she would have to give up her dream of becoming a missionary doctor.

    2. Learn to choose your response by first changing your perspective.

    Reflect: Discover what you are learning about yourself in the process. What surprises you? What do you wish would change? Stay the same?

    Recognize: It’s easy to run away with your feelings, but remember this is a moment in time. Navigate your emotions and recognize this is only a set-back, not a final sentence.

    Refocus: This is one area of your life. It does not define you as a whole. One or many failed attempts don’t make you a failure.

    Re-engage: Look for the opportunity in the situation. How can you grow from it?

    3. Look at the bigger picture.

    A natural reaction to disappointment, failure, or rejection is to Fight-Flight-or Freeze. But what happens when you step back and look at the bigger picture? How does your response to the situation impact those around you? What are they learning from your response? How does your response impact their feelings and thoughts?? How does your response impact the person you want to be?

    Following these three steps doesn’t take the feelings away, or prevent you from experiencing disappointment, failure, or rejection. But it does help you learn how to respond in a way that leads to less stress and greater balance.


    About Kelli Schulte

    Kelli is a Chicago-based consultant and coach helping individuals and organizations grow in emotional intelligence. With a natural curiosity for how people think and feel, she enjoys helping others increase self-awareness, build greater connections, and experience a healthier sense of well-being, in order to take positive steps forward.

    In addition to being a wife and a mom of two young adults, she is also a certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Preferred Partner with Six Seconds, Certified EQ Assessor and Practitioner, an EQ Area Network Leader with Six Seconds, a Panelist with the Six Seconds EQ Community Forum, and a regular contributor with 30Seconds.com.

    Her combined experience working as a consultant with Fortune 100 organizations, and working with students and adults in church ministry gives her a unique coaching platform.