Life & Work Skills

In a Flop Era? Here’s How To Bounce Back From Failure

written by HAILEY BOUCHE
how to bounce back from failure"
how to bounce back from failure
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

You win some, you lose some. And if you’re here with me now, I am going to go ahead and assume that you’ve found yourself in what TikTok likes to call “a flop era,” which essentially refers to a period of time in which someone experiences a failure—whether it’s epically large or small enough for only you to notice. While the size of the flop doesn’t matter all that much, the way it can make you feel, no matter how big or small, can take a toll on you and make figuring out how the hell to bounce back from failure feel like a colossal undertaking.

But hey, without failure every now and then, how are we ever going to learn and grow? It’s a natural, albeit annoying, part of life that we all have been through and will inevitably go through again. Luckily, there are practical steps you can take to bounce back from failure and become stronger than before, and we’re sharing them in a step-by-step guide ahead.


How To Bounce Back From Failure: A Step-by-Step Guide


Give yourself a break

First things first: Take a deep breath and give yourself grace. Failing doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. Read that again. If you failed at achieving your goals, don’t let that lead you to a fear of not being good enough to reach them. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances or you’re disappointed, that is OK, but don’t beat yourself up for it. Take this time to relax and reflect so you can come back stronger than ever.


Find the lessons

I know that the last thing you want to do is spend time finding the light in a less-than-ideal situation, but the truth is that there really always is a silver lining; there is always a lesson (or two or three) that you can take away from a crap situation. Whether you know that certain experiences led you to where you are now or you believe that what happened had nothing to do with you, I urge you to use this as an opportunity to learn from it. And don’t be afraid to dig deep and get uncomfortable in doing so. Maybe this means you’re learning more about yourself, someone else, your career, or something else altogether. Either way, the lessons you learn now will help you (excuse me for sounding like a professor who uses too many clichés) find success in the future.


Develop a plan for moving forward

Nothing changes if nothing changes. Harsh, I know, but once you’ve spent time reflecting on what happened and what you can learn from it, there’s no sense in wallowing in the past. Instead, start developing a plan.

To start, ask yourself the following questions: How will I approach my goals differently knowing what I know now? What kind of support do I need that I didn’t have before? How can I avoid the things that interrupted my progress the first time around? Next, think about ways that you can hold yourself accountable: scheduling check-ins with yourself on your calendar, telling a friend about your plan, or keeping a log.

Now, write down your new plan, including as much or as little detail as you need. This could look like a written step-by-step plan with check-in points, a refreshed vision board, or an intention stuck to your mirror to remind yourself what you need to do every day for your goals. It doesn’t really matter if it’s written down or in your head. All that matters is that you do what works best for you—otherwise, you will find yourself in the same situation as before.


Take small steps toward your goal

You might feel like you’re behind because you’re starting over on your goals or pivoting your plans altogether. That is normal, but the reality is that you’re not behind and you don’t need to rush; everything happens in its own time. So don’t go overscheduling yourself to death trying to “catch up,” and instead, set your eyes on the small steps you need to take in order to yield big results.

For example, if you wanted to start working out more but “fell off the wagon,” it doesn’t do you any good to go to the gym twice a day for two hours each to make up for lost time. Start small and commit to 2-3 days a week for 30 minutes, and when you can stick to that, then you can adjust your workout routine. Going in too hard too fast can lead to burnout, and that is what we want to avoid if we are trying to make long-term changes for the better and avoid failure.