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Applying Resilience to Failure 

The American Psychological Association calls resilience “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” Below are some suggestions for developing positive coping strategies to help move you in a new direction after a failure.

Lessons learned —Failure is not the end of the road. Look at it as a steppingstone to success. Take a problem and break it down into manageable pieces, exploring ways you can strategize or restructure your plan to move forward. Ask yourself what you could have done differently to improve for next time.

Change the narrative — Keep your thoughts and mindset positive. Remind yourself that failure is a sign that you are challenging yourself to do something difficult. Failure is not personal, not who you are, it’s something you experience. Tell yourself that you are not a failure.

Acknowledge strengths — Recognize when something you did went well, no matter how small. Appreciate and celebrate the small victories in your day that may normally go unnoticed, such as being patient with someone even though you may have been feeling frustrated. Make a list of your strengths and note how they can help you move forward.

Build a community — Talk with others, read blog posts or listen to podcasts from people who have gone through a similar experience. They may offer lessons they learned that could be useful on your journey. Talking to someone you trust may help put things in perspective or help you spot something you might have overlooked.

Journal — Write out or draw your thoughts and feelings, then try to determine what triggers them. Then experiment with ways to manage those thoughts and feelings when they come up. For example: going for a walk, playing a game, listening to music or doing breathing exercises.

Self-compassion — Confront your situation with lovingkindness instead of judgment.

Understand that no one is perfect and your mistakes do not define you. Tell yourself you will focus on the things you can control.

Learn more about how to apply resilience to failure in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-BeingSM webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and general interest webinars here, where you’ll find past sessions and resources.

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