A few weeks ago, I finished reading yet another John C. Maxwell book. As you folks know, I’m a big John C. Maxwell fan. When I created the innovator list, he was the first person that came to mind, simply because his writings have influenced my own personal thought process and values more than anyone else.
The book I would like to reference today is Failing Forward, an influential guide that had a major impact on me and changed the way I look at failure and mistakes.
If you have not read Failing Forward yet, I would suggest you grab a copy as soon as possible.
A section that had a particularly large impact on me was on the concept of staying optimistic when facing failure. I think that’s a topic that we all have an issue with, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Failure is heartbreaking; no one likes it and it can be difficult to stay positive and see the bright side when you are being swarmed by failure.
But John C. Maxwell has led me to believe it is very possible to stay optimistic in the midst of failure. It is not only possible, it is necessary if you want to overcome the failure and move past it.
Photo compliments of venturocket.com
Here are 5 ways to stay optimistic in the midst of failure:
1. Expecting the best in everything; not the worst
Our expectations have such a major impact on the outcome of things.
I had a hard time understanding this at first, but through reading and experience I soon began to feel the consequences and rewards of expectations. Typically...what you expect, you get.
This is why it is important to expect positive things in all situations. Expect that a positive outcome is going to happen and that positive outcome is more likely to occur.
The reason for this is because when we expect things to happen in a certain way, our actions tend to line up accordingly so that we do whatever we can to make that outcome happen.
If we are expecting the best possible outcome, then we will be acting accordingly and working towards making that happen. But, if we are expecting something bad to happen, then we are likely to give up much easier and play the blame game much before the battle is over.
Expect the best in everything, and you are much more likely to see positive results.
2. Remaining upbeat; even when you get beat up
Staying happy and optimistic when you are being hammered can be tough. It can one of the most discouraging things in the world to fail and face problem after problem, but we can’t let that affect our attitude.
Your attitude is what controls your actions and those with an upbeat, positive attitude get much better results than those with a hang-dog, victim attitude.
When you get beat up, literally or figuratively, it’s okay to feel discouraged and upset. That’s natural. The important thing is to not let that feeling of discouragement affect your future actions.
A lot of times, when something goes terribly wrong or we are getting hammered by disaster, we just throw in the towel and hang our heads low. We look for someone else to solve our problems and go into depressed mode.
Do whatever you can to fight this off. Stay upbeat, stay positive, and stay energetic. You’ll bounce back! Everything will be just fine.
When your in a situation like this, and problems are all around you, remember to take a step back and remind yourself that the situation is only temporary and it’s not going to affect who you are as a person…that is, an upbeat, positive winner!
3. Seeing solutions in every problem; not problems in every solution
Problems come up every day. Some big, some small.
Are you the type of person that finds problems in everything?? Do you look at something and immediately notice all the flaws, rather than the quality parts?
John C. Maxwell says that a person who sees continuous success is very good at finding solutions to problems. They are not problem oriented, they are solution oriented.
To remain optimistic in times of failure, start looking for solutions in every major problem and when you find a solution, try to avoid picking out all the little problems with that solution. If the solution is just that, a solution, than it will solve the major problem regardless of all the little problems you think it has.
This is not to say that successful people can’t see problems. Quite the contrary…
They actually are very good at finding flaws and issues. They are just better at fixing the flaws and they focus their energy on finding the solution rather than dwelling over the problem.
Instead of wasting energy finding all the problems in your world, get into the habit of looking for and finding results and providing solutions.
4. Believing in yourself; Even when others believe you’ve failed
This is 100% a self-confidence issue.
Now, I’m no confidence coach so I’ll make this as brief and simple as possible. But when you are struggling and can’t seem to find your way, not many people will believe in you.
You will get criticized and receive little support. They see all your struggles and problems and don’t think you’ll ever escape into success. That’s because they don’t know you…
You will escape the struggles into the land of success, but in order to get there, you’ll have to truly believe you can. This is important because if you don’t believe, then no one else will. You must have a core belief that no matter what happens and no matter how tough the going gets, you’ll bounce back and achieve your goals.
During times of struggle, spend time with the few people who do believe in you and provide words of encouragement (i.e. family, close friends). Never tell yourself you can’t do it and always keep striding forward.
Don’t get caught up in the criticism. If you want it bad enough, you’ll get it.
5. Holding on to hope; Even when others say it’s hopeless
This plays right off of principle #4. Hope is a precious thing that no one can take away from you.
John Maxwell says that there are a lot of hopeless things out there, but you get to decide what they are. If you feel something is hopeless for you than it is. But if you feel hope is still around, than it is still hanging around!
Holding on to hope is a delicate issue and should be taken very seriously. Your hope is what is going to allow you to keep striving towards your big dreams (you do have big dreams, right?).
If you lose hope, you lose everything.
So when things aren’t going so well, and others say to give up because it’s hopeless…you gotta believe the opposite and hang on to every ounce of hope.
Feel the hope and allow it to drive you towards working your butt off towards your goal. Then, as you begin to make progress, others will come along and decide to change their minds on all their “hopeless comments”. You will then have all the support and encouragement you need.
But in times of failure and disaster, hang on to every ounce of hope in your heart and fight for it!
I recently started following John C. Maxwell’s online blog. He shares amazing tips and strategies on leadership, communication, and successful mindsets.
Check it out at http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/