If you’re anything like me, setting goals, and achieving them, comes rather naturally. It’s just a normal process of “going through life”; you set your eyes on something, you put in the work and ta-da the results appear. As far as I can remember, this is how it went: you want to dance and compete at the world championship, sure go ahead and do that. You want to go the number one hotel management school in the world; just apply, get in and graduate four years later. While that sounds all rainbows and butterflies, there is a slight problem with it…It never taught me how to deal with and overcome failure. Last year, I decided to study for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test; if you’re wondering what it is, it’s simply a standard test that applicants need in order to be selected for an MBA in the best schools). Before starting, I carefully crafted a 6-month study plan, divided the number of hours to weekly quotas, including time dedicated to work on weakness areas, time to practice speed of answering…Anything you can think of, I’ve planned worked it in my plan. Roughly a month before the test date, I realised my score was not improving as much as I wanted and therefore decided to get help from a tutor. After a final month of intense studies, the exam time came around. And unfortunately, I fell short of my goal. This could go two ways; I could either throw in the towel and move on, or I could take a step back, analyse what went wrong and get back at it. As you can probably guess, I opted for #2, and wanted to share with you the steps that have helped me overcome this setback:
- First, just accept how you feel.
- Be constructive and learn from this situation. See it more as valuable feedback and something you can use to improve rather than only a big blow and setback. I’ve found that the simplest and most helpful way to do that is to ask questions like:
- Remind yourself: anyone who wants to do things of value in life will fail. We often mostly just hear about people’s successes. But the path to those milestones tends to have many setbacks. The story of someone’s success may seem only bright and fast-moving in what's told on social media or what we see in our minds.
- Find inspiration and support from your world. Learn from those who have gone where you want to go. Read about how they handled setbacks and low-points before or during their success in books, on websites or podcasts.
- Move forward again, don’t get stuck in mulling this situation over for too long.
- Improve your self-esteem.