Keep both eyes on your goal while learning from failure
Recovering from failure can be lot easier when we keep our eyes fixed on our goal. When the failure becomes our focus it can cloud our judgement and steal any hope for getting the job done. Being able to remind ourselves of our destination is a crucial aspect of getting up when we get knocked down.
Time management and productivity blogs often stress the importance of having a plan of action for everything we do. I’ve been in many situations where “perfect” plans have been developed. But these plans leave little room for failure. Time is money after all. But when we’re making plans we would be wise to leave some room for learning and redirection. Mid-course disruptions are bound to happen. We may feel pressured to wait until after a project is completed to analyse and learn from the things that have gone wrong. There is, however, great value in learning as we go.
By nature I’m an adaptable fellow. I like knowing where I’m going, but I’m not too fused about how we get there. I have learned to be focused on details because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Many of us are taught to plan thoroughly and to anticipate every eventuality. It seems that it’s not uncommon to spend a considerable amount of time working on such detailed plans only to have them thrown out because something unplanned happens or the boss changes her mind. In moments likes these, if you destination and goals aren’t clear, then you’re likely to pull your hair out!
When it comes to planning, I’ve settled on a compromise. From the outset I spend a fair amount of time making sure that my final destination is actually where I want to be. This usually requires a fair bit of reflection on where I’ve been, where I’ve failed, and where I’ve succeeded. Once I’m confident of my desired outcome, I establish a plan, but I hold on to it loosely. For me, being able to adapt to unforeseen changes is important. I’ve seen many people make plans and then hold on to them so tightly. When events refuse to go their way they just can’t let their plans go. They become bitter and allow failure to get the best of them. Letting go of our plan is vastly different from letting go of our destination or goal. It is possible to let go of a plan and still reach our desired outcome. This requires us to hold on to our plans lightly and to be willing to make mid-course corrections. The destination doesn’t change, but how we get there does.
If your current plan isn’t working and you’re tired of failing, there is hope. Get up! You’re okay. Examine the your desired outcome to be sure that it’s the place where you want or need to be. Then, be willing to rework your plan and try a different route. By learning from our failures and keeping our eyes fixed on our goals, we’re sure to get there eventually. We may even be surprised by the experiences we have along the way.