Handling Failure

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As we confront the many challenges that come our way in life, we know that we won’t be successful at all of them; we know that we will have to face failure. Failure is a part of life just as much as anything else, in things big and little.

Failure at some point is inevitable, but our attitude toward it is something we can control. Moreover, how we handle failure can affect how we deal with it in the future and increase or decrease the probability of failing again.

And since this is the case, business analyst Scott Edinger counsels that we should do what we can to prepare for failure.

We need, first of all, to be prepared to acknowledge when we have made a mistake or failed. While this may seem like a no brainer, not all of us are willing to admit when we have failed, and this could be for a number of reasons. But acknowledging failure is the first step in moving past it. Those who recognize failure tend to handle it better than those who refuse to acknowledge it.

Once you have recognized the failure, the next step is to find the cause. If you have control over the cause in any way, you can take measures to make sure the problem doesn’t come up again.

But before you do respond, Edinger advises to first take a break, to get some distance from the event. Take some time to cool off, to collect your thoughts. You might take a walk, do some reading, get some other type of exercise. The point is to give your mind time to absorb the problem and to think about effective ways to handle it. Giving yourself a break may help you see solutions you might otherwise have missed.

As your final step in dealing with failure, Edinger advises to refocus your efforts and do something, take some action. Make up a plan of what you are going to do, what options you have to continue toward your goal and then follow through. Doing this helps to restore a feeling of control and helps raise your spirits.

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A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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