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Why successful people embrace failure

August 27, 2021
The Lime Team

Mind-Matter’s Nurturing Resilience Series

Determination – the ability to deal with setbacks and devise strategies for overcoming obstacles – has always been a valued characteristic.

And it’s set to become even more important in the ‘new normal’ of our post-pandemic world. Fortunately, although perseverance, or ‘grit’ as it’s referred to in psychological circles, might seem like an elusive trait that you either do or don’t have, it’s actually an attribute we can all develop – not least because it’s directly linked to our willingness to embrace failure. Instead of getting crumpled by setbacks, people with high levels of grit are prepared to fail, and so are more likely to succeed in the long-term.

Rather than beating themselves up when something doesn’t go to plan, or staying in their comfort zone to avoid failure, people with high levels of grit have a mindset that allows them to embrace setbacks as part of a learning process. By equipping yourself with that mindset, you can not only be successful, but you can also boost your mental health and ensure you don’t suffer the low self-esteem, stress and anxiety issues that can result from putting too much pressure on yourself to get things right first time.

Here are five ways to increase your grit and determination, and if you manage other people you encourage them to do the same:

  1. Ride the ups and downs.
    Uncertainty could be a byword for the last couple of years. The pandemic, BREXIT, economic crises and political uncertainty have all contributed. Reassure yourself and your colleagues that it’s okay to ride the ups and downs. Some things will go well, others not so well. What matters isn’t finding ways to adapt perfectly but learning as you go along. Somewhat ironically, it’s only by giving yourself permission to fail from time-to-time that you can grow the confidence needed to succeed.
  2. Connect to the bigger picture.
    When we understand the purpose of what we’re doing, it increases our passion and determination to succeed. If someone thinks they’re just building a wall, they will naturally be much less motivated and determined to do a great job than if they’re aware that every carefully laid brick is helping to create a great cathedral. So, if you want to cultivate grit – drive, determination, passion and courage – remind yourself of the way in which your every day work is contributing to your overall purpose – and if you have employees, help them to see how their contribution makes a difference.
  3. Focus on strengths.
    We’re naturally more motivated, energised and successful when we focus on what we enjoy and excel at than when we try to force ourselves to do tasks we don’t enjoy. Can you outsource tasks that you struggle to do and dislike doing? Or if you run a business, can you share those tasks out among different members of staff? One of the best ways to increase determination is to assess strengths, using one of the many psychometric tools now available, and focus efforts on tasks that play to those strengths, rather than struggling on with tasks that don’t come naturally.
  4. Help to cope with setbacks.
    Determined people don’t expect things to be easy or successful first time round on every occasion. Instead, they anticipate obstacles and have strategies in place for dealing with setbacks. If starting a new role, for example, they might consider what could go wrong, not with a view to focusing on the negative but rather to ensure they get support where needed. At the same time, no one can pre-empt every challenge, so it’s important to think about what support you can put in place so that it’s there when you – or your colleagues – need it. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be anything from a mentoring system to a paid for support service such as Mind-Matters from Lime which provides emotional and practical support via the Resilience Support helpline.
  5. Boost resilience.
    People with grit know how to overcome setbacks, get up and dust themselves down before starting again. The only reason this is possible is because they also operate high levels of self-care and are mindful of how well they’re coping with difficulties so that they can tap into extra support and recharge when needed. Regularly checking your resilience levels via online tools, such as Mind-Matters’ online Resilience Assessment tool can help you to keep on top of your mental wellbeing. You might like to also consider resilience training that is focused on developing a growth mindset which can help identify where your unique limits are and how to psychologically recharge.

Source adapted from: Validium

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