Sure, bad and good situations happen to all of us. Unfortunately, it's human nature to dwell on the bad ones. We become frustrated, and frustration leads to a pattern of failure. I know firsthand . . . I've been there.
The truth is that those of us who have made something out of our lives have at some point -- maybe multiple points -- made a conscious choice to embrace failure and not let it hold us back. At the end of the day, we all enjoy a good glass of lemonade, instead of sucking on sour lemons, right?
So, the big question is what to do next after a failure occurs. Over the years, I've come up with these six ways to turn failure into success.
1. Accept the lemons.
What’s done is done. There's no point in rehashing or worrying about your mistakes. The past cannot be changed. Instead, use your energy to impact the future.
2. Learn from what's gone wrong.
Consider failure a life lesson, in order to learn from it and make things better next time. Instead of losing control, learn, learn and learn some more. And don't be afraid to do this, either. (You may not like some of your findings. But you can still learn from them.)
3. Spend some time figuring out what happened.
Analyze the situation and try to answer the questions that arise, as honestly as you can. Did you believe in yourself? At what moment did you feel doubt or fear of failure? Were you motivated enough? Did you act on the right information and use it correctly?
Was your goal important, relevant and achievable for you? Where and when did things go wrong? Maybe you need to re-create your goals and steps and take all your disadvantages into consideration.
4. Work harder
Be better prepared next time. Use the information from your analysis, and try not to repeat any of the things that in your opinion led to failure.
5. Don't "curb your enthusiasm."
If anything, be even more enthusiastic next time. Pat yourself on the back for having tried and vow to try again. Admire all your willpower, your desire to succeed, your perseverance. Keep your attitude positive, and stay cool. Now, you are stronger, smarter, better prepared, more experienced and even more motivated.
6. Keep making lemonade!
Don't be afraid. Do it again. Do it now. Do it better. Do it right and finish what you’ve started. And celebrate every victory, especially the small ones.
Above all, keep in mind that you are not the first person to fail . . . and then, ultimately, succeed big-time. Consider such notable failures-turned-successes as J.K. Rowlings (of Harry Potter fame), Apple's Steve Jobs, basketball's Michael Jordan, President Abraham Lincoln and Sir Richard Bramson.
There are incredible lessons to be learned from these people who succeeded only by focusing on their previous failures -- especially for entrepreneurs or anyone facing serious challenges.
To squeeze every drop of juice out of a lemon of a situation, you have to learn to bounce back quickly, keep trying (no matter how many failures and obstacles you encounter) and learn from your mistakes. With this in mind, that next glass of lemonade will taste oh-so-much sweeter.