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5 Great Questions to Ask Yourself After a Failure

5 Great Questions to Ask Yourself After a Failure

    Let’s face it. We all fail.

    As we go through life we have relationships that don’t work out,  jobs that just aren’t right, exams that we flunk, initiatives that don’t succeed. The more new things we try the more failures we are likely to have. In fact, the only way to avoid failure is to do nothing new.

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    The important thing is how we deal with failure. It can be part of a downward slide in which lack of confidence reinforces feelings of inadequacy and incompetence. But experiencing failure can be a learning experience and an opportunity for a fresh start. A good way to begin this process is by asking yoruself some tough questions.

    1.  What can I learn from this?  Take responsibility for what went wrong. OK, so it was not all your fault – but some of it was. Successful people don’t make excuses or blame others. They take ownership of the issues. Be critical but constructive. Try to look at the experience objectively.  Make a list of the key things that happened. Analyze the list step-by-step and look for the learning points.

    2.  What could I have done differently? What other options did you have? What choices did you make? How could you have handled it differently? With the benefit of hindsight, what different steps would you have taken?

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    3.  Do I need to acquire or improve some skills? Did the problem reveal some lack of skill on your part? How could you learn or improve those skills? Perhaps there are books or courses or people you could turn to. Make a self-development plan to acquire the skills and experiences you need.

    4.  Who can I learn from? Is there someone to whom you can turn to for advice? Did a boss, colleague or a friend see what happened? If they are constructive and supportive then ask them for some feedback and guidance. Most people do not ask for help because they believe it to be a sign of weakness rather than strength. It’s not. It shows that you are ready to learn and change. Any good friend will be happy to help.

    5.  What will I do next? Now draw up an action plan. Will you try something similar or something different? Revisit your goals and objectives. This reversal has been a setback on your journey but think of it as a diversion rather than a halt. You can now reset your sights on your destination and plan a new course.

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    If you read the life stories of successful people – especially inventors, explorers, scientists or statesmen –  you will find that their early careers are littered with failures. Walt Disney, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are typical examples. Abraham Lincoln, suffered many defeats in his career in politics including losing the nomination for vice president in 1856 and his second run at being a U.S. Senator in 1858. Two years later he was elected president.

    The important point is to use your setbacks as learning experiences and make them stepping stones to future success. There are always positives you can take from every episode in your life. Asking yourself these five questions can help find them.

     

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on October 9, 2018

    How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

    How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

    Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

    If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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    A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

    So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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    For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

    Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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    To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

    1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
    2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
    3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
    4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
    5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

    If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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    Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

    Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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