Picking yourself up after a failure can be tough. Trust me, I know because I’ve been there before.
Here’s the thing: failure sucks. It’s not fun and it doesn’t feel good.
And I know how much you wish you could just avoid it.
But part of life is going through the failures. You couldn’t have success if you didn’t know what failure was. So it’s OK to experience failure. It’s normal.
The problem is that failure can really mess with your self-confidence.
Because it can make you question yourself, doubt your skills, and second-guess all your decisions moving forward.
* This article is brought to you by my fellow self-improvement blogger Melanie Kernodle at melaniekernodle.com – I really recommend you to check her blog out! *
The tricky part is learning to pick yourself back up *quickly* after the failure.
Because the question isn’t whether or not you’re going to get back up.
You will eventually pick yourself up and move on, it may just take you a really long time or it may not be in a way that serves you.
I like to think of it in terms of wrestlers (don’t ask me why because I don’t know anything about wrestling).
But when a wrestler gets knocked down to the mat it seems like he has two choices: stay down or get back up.
In reality, though, he only has ONE choice: get up quickly or get up slowly. Either way, he’s going to have to pick himself up off the mat.
It may be before the match is over or it may be after he’s already lost, but either way, he will have to get up and move on.
He can’t lay on the mat forever.
That’s how failure works too. The question isn’t are you going to move on after a failure, it’s when are you going to do it and how are you going to do it.
The key to rebuilding your self-confidence after failure is learning how to pick yourself back up quickly and to do it in a way that helps you continue to move forward instead of giving up.
Where Self-Confidence Comes From
Before we dive into how to rebuild your self-confidence, we first need to look at where self-confidence really comes from. Because so many people get it wrong.
Too many people think that self-confidence is built on external factors like:
How well they do at work
How much money they have
How good their skills are
How they look, etc.
But really self-confidence comes from inside you. It’s something you cultivate through your mindset and beliefs.
You don’t need to have the external factors to create self-confidence, it’s an internal game.
When you learn this you can start to build your self-confidence right away, without waiting until you’ve mastered a certain skill or made a certain amount of money.
So let’s get into how to rebuild it after a failure.
How to Rebuild Your Self-Confidence After a Failure
1. Find an Empowering Meaning
I’ve always loved the phrase “nothing in life has meaning except the meaning you give it.”
As humans, it’s our brain’s job to assign meanings to things in our life so that we can understand and process them.
But we ultimately get to decide what meaning we give to anything.
Part of rebuilding your self-confidence is choosing to find an empowering meaning in your failure and using it to work for you instead of against you.
One way to do this is to look at how this “failure” may be helping you.
You can choose to make the failure mean that you’ve learned the “wrong” way to do something, so now you’re closer to doing it a better way.
Instead of deciding that failure means that you’re not good enough, you can choose to make it mean that you are learning and growing.
The meaning that you give to the failure will determine how you move forward afterward.
It will determine whether or not you move on quickly or slowly, and whether you give up or keep trying.
Related tool: Printable positivity journal
2. Remember Your Past Successes
One reason that your self-confidence feels shaken after a failure is because you’re replaying it over and over again.
You’re only thinking about that one failure you had instead of remembering the countless other times when you’ve been successful in your life.
In order to feel self-confident again, remind yourself that you’ve been successful other times in the past. Even if it was a small success – it still counts.
Consciously make yourself recall as many times as you can when you were successful in the past. It could be anything from graduating from college to finishing a marathon to learning how to walk.
Any success is important, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
I find it helpful to keep a running list of past successes that I can easily pull up when I’m feeling low on self-confidence.
Make it a routine to go back over this list anytime you find yourself focusing too much on your failures.
3. Find Evidence That Builds Self-Confidence
After you’ve looked for evidence of success in your past, it’s time to look for evidence in your current reality that builds self-confidence.
Despite the failure that you experienced, where in your present life are you successful?
Maybe it’s with your health or your relationships or even just your willingness to try to move forward?
Like I mentioned before, self-confidence comes from your mindset and beliefs.
When you think and believe that you can be confident despite your failures, that’s when you can look for evidence to support those thoughts.
Look for situations in your life that build your self-confidence. Your brain is constantly looking for ways to prove itself right. So if you’re constantly thinking that you’re not confident, it will find reasons in your life that prove those thoughts right.
However, if you’re constantly thinking about how you are confident and how you can feel confident despite your failure, your brain will look for evidence in your life that proves that right instead.
It’s all about what you focus on.
4. Don’t Worry About What Other People Think
Oh boy, if there’s one piece of advice I could give my younger self it’s this: stop worrying about what other people think!
And let’s face it, I still need this reminder to this day because I’m not perfect.
Here’s the thing you must remember: you have ZERO control over what other people think.
At the end of the day, everyone is allowed to think whatever they want to think, no matter what you do or say.
So you might as well stop worrying about something that you have no control over.
People will make up their own opinions about you no matter what.
And those opinions are mostly based off of what their own thoughts and beliefs are, which has nothing to do with you.
I think real self-confidence comes when you’re willing to let go of what other people think about you.
When you can be confident in yourself no matter how someone else may react to you, that’s when you’ve built a strong sense of self-confidence.
Ignore everyone else, and go back to finding your own empowering meaning in your failure.
This will serve you so much more than worrying about other people’s thoughts.
5. Give Yourself Some Compassion
When a little kid fails to learn how to walk the first time, do you constantly tell them how worthless they are? No!
So why do you do this to yourself every time you fail?
It’s important to remember that everyone fails. Even that person that you idolize and look up to.
Failure is universal and all humans experience.
And if you can remember that, then you can give yourself some compassion when you fail… Instead of beating yourself up.
To rebuild your self-confidence, you need to be kind to yourself.
Treat yourself the way you would a child. Be loving, and kind and encouraging.
Giving yourself that kind of compassion builds your confidence instead of tearing it down.
Just because you failed at something it doesn’t make you a failure.
6. Learn More Information
Even though your self-confidence is something that is created in your mindset and beliefs, you can help strengthen it by relying on outside knowledge to make you feel more confident.
We usually feel more confident in a subject when we know more about it.
So, after you experience a failure it’s helpful to rely on more information to help boost your sense of self-confidence until you can get back on your feet.
Figure out what caused you to fail in the first place, and then go to work learning as much information as you need to in order to feel more confident on that subject.
For example, let’s say you had a financial failure.
Maybe you overspent on your credit cards or you didn’t save enough for a big expense. Get to work learning more about how to make smarter financial decisions and you will immediately start to feel more confident.
Instead of wallowing in the failure, get into action by learning more useful information to rebuild your self-confidence.
This trick can be applied to any area of your life.
The more you know about something, the more you will feel confident in that area.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that you always need more knowledge to be more confident.
Like I mentioned before, self-confidence is created from within, and knowledge can be a tool to help you build that internal confidence when you’re feeling shaky.
But ultimately self-confidence is created from the mindset and belief in yourself.
7. Have a “Never Give Up” Mentality
Last, but certainly, not least is the mentality that you develop before a failure even happens.
If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to have the right mindset in place before you experience failure.
That way when it does happen (because failure is an inevitable part of life) you can pick yourself up much faster and keep moving towards your goals.
If you’ve decided on a goal or something you want to achieve in your life, and you’ve committed to it, it’s essential that you develop a “never give up” mindset.
This is a very valuable mindset to have, but so many people make the mistake of not building this mentality before they set out on achieving their goals.
People usually get excited about a goal or dream and then immediately start to go after it. Which is great!
But they mistakenly think that they will develop a “never give up” mindset along the way. Or they think that they already have the right mindset, but at the first sign of failure or difficulty they give up.
In order to build this mindset, you have to:
believe in yourself
have a burning desire to achieve your goal.
If either one of these pieces is missing, you don’t have a “never give up” mindset.
First, you have to believe in yourself. And you need to believe that you are capable of anything and that you can overcome any obstacle.
In order to build this belief, you have to constantly remind your brain of why this is true for you.
If you don’t already believe it, then your brain will come up with an example possible to try to prove this new belief wrong.
The key here is to NOT listen to your brain. It’s lying to you!
Not because it wants to hurt you, but because your brain is just operating from the level of your current belief.
It doesn’t like to change.
But with the continual effort, you can train your brain to believe the new idea that you ARE capable of anything.
To go along with that belief in yourself, the second thing you must have is a burning desire to reach your goal.
If you only kind of, sorta want to reach your goal it isn’t important enough to you.
Your goal has to be so important that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
Even getting back up after failures and trying until you get it right. No matter what.
This is the “never give up” mindset that makes you successful. This mindset will give you the self-confidence you need after a failure to keep working towards your goal.
Remember earlier when I talked about the wrestler who always gets back up after he gets knocked down?
And remember how the question isn’t whether or not he will get back up but when he will get back up?
Anytime you have a goal or a dream you want to accomplish, think of yourself as the wrestler. And when you experience failure, it’s like getting knocked down to the mat.
That experience of getting knocked to the mat is a NORMAL part of being a wrestler.
It’s expected to happen.
The decision you have to make is how quickly you will get back up.
And whether or not you will regain your self-confidence and continue fighting or if you will just give up.
You can ALWAYS get back up after a failure.
No one is forcing you to give up, it’s only your own beliefs about yourself that will make you give up.
But if you can use the tools I mentioned here to regain your self-confidence and do it as quickly as possible, you’ll be able to move on and keep working towards your goals. Which will make success not only inevitable for you, but also make it happen a lot faster.
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Do you struggle with your confidence? Did something happen that stole away your confidence? Share in a comment at the bottom!