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Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure

Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure

Failure is a part of life. It happens to all of us and we should accept that. Too many people are scared of it. They would rather get a harsh kick to the scrotum than step out into the open where the embarrassment of failing would be seen by the judgmental world. And the people in that world are only happy you failed because they can feel better about never trying.

Folks, I’m a failure. I have been my whole life, and it shows. I have been down to my last $20.65. I have lost $3000 with a single, drunken click. I have crashed cars, been fired, been the reason my team lost, been so depressed I couldn’t move, liked the girl but could not open my mouth, and so much more.

Failing sucks. There’s no way to add soft, fluffy feathers to it. It sucks and you never want it to happen. But it does and it will. So when failure happens, use these 5 unusual ways to deal with the situation.

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1. Get Back Up…With Caution

There’s that old Chinese Proverb about being knocked down seven times but standing back up eight. I like agreeing with it, it makes me sound persistent and tough. But it’s also stupid. If a bear knocked you down, started walking away, and you stood back up, he would come back and kill you. If you stayed down maybe you would be lucky enough to be left alone. I don’t know, I’ve never been attacked by a bear, but I assume you are supposed to play dead for a reason.

I have seen people lose their family, home, friends, everything; all because they wouldn’t admit their business was dead. So they went bankrupt and ended up in a small empty apartment, alone. You can keep getting up if you want, but make sure the fight will be worth it.

2. Unleash All Of Your Hate Immediately

When I was a teenager I used to get so mad I’d punch a cement wall until blood smeared across the blue paint. It hurt but I felt better. I don’t recommend that, though. I still get mad when bad things happen, but I don’t beat up walls anymore. I write instead. And it helps just as much, plus it’s far less intense and personally abusive, so bonus. Writing about my failures helps me get over them, even laugh at them a little. Laughing is good. And if you can eventually laugh at your mistakes and failures, then you are on an amazing path to recovery.

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3. Watch Your Favorite Comedian

I recently discovered the comedian Stewart Lee and I love his comedy. But I also love old performers like the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. The point is, whatever makes me laugh I watch when I feel worse than everybody who invested with Bernie Madoff and found themselves caught up in a fraud. It helps. It doesn’t cure, but who cares? Giving your brain a rest from obsessing about failing is healthy. Be healthy, laugh as much as you can. It will increase your oxytocin and you’ll feel a lot better.

4. Drink Coffee In A Crowded Area

Drink coffee, or don’t drink coffee. Drink milk mixed with orange juice for all it matters. Just surround yourself with a bustling crowd. Maybe kids will be laughing and screaming through a water fountain. Maybe the cute girl at the coffee shop will have a laughing seizure from your joke and you’ll feel better. Maybe someone will smile at you as they walk by. I don’t know, lots of things happen in crowded spots.

Sit back and watch. Enjoy the scene. Enjoy the coffee. All the noise and people will get your brain working. Come up with new ideas. How can you make a comeback? What went wrong and how could you have done better? What can you do to get started on building some new momentum?

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Or just sit and enjoy the energy around you. You can think about your next move later.

5. People Don’t Care So You Shouldn’t Either

Other than your significant other, who actually cares about your failures? Yes, they will be supportive but they have their own problems and failures to worry about. They can give you some advice and maybe even a little help, but it all comes down to you getting over the failure yourself. Don’t assume people will stop their lives to help you back on your feet. It all comes down to you, so you need to start the process of figuring it out.

I used to get enraged at people for not caring more about my problems. If I was the most important person in my world, I should be the most important person in everyone’s world. I’d just get depressed and helpless and eat a lot of macaroni mixed with tuna and mushroom soup. Oh, and you can’t forget the gallons of rye and ginger ale. Caring about what others thought, or didn’t think of me, kept me down and kept me drinking.

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It took a lot of time but I don’t care as much anymore. It’s my life, my failures, my story, my ability to succeed. So go after success – whatever that means to you – and enjoy your life as much as you can. If you fail – and you will – it’s okay. It’s all part of the game. Enjoy the game.

Featured photo credit:  isan via Compfight via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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