No matter how smart and gifted you are, you are going to fail at times, in life and in business. You might as well accept that fact right now. The question is… how will you react to failure?

If you become cynical and despondent, you’re heading for disaster. How should you handle failure? Below are four suggestions:

    Learn from your mistakes.  You’re going to make mistakes, but try not to repeat them!  Whether you lost your temper with an employee, screwed up an order for a client, or spent thousands of dollars on advertising campaign that failed… take time to reflect on what you did wrong, and think about how you’ll respond differently in the future.

    Remain confident.  As soon as you lose confidence in your abilities, you may as well close down the shop and head home.  You won’t succeed if you don’t believe that you can.  Remember that everybody fails at times – Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and the NFL head coach currently considered the best in the league, Bill Belichick, was fired from his first NFL coaching job with the Cleveland Browns.  You screwed up.  It’s over.  Move on!

    Don’t look at it as wasted time.  The worst type of failure occurs when you’ve invested lots of time in a doomed initiative.  It’s only natural to think “wow, I just wasted countless hours on this stupid idea.”  But it wasn’t a waste, even if it was a huge failure.  Think of the lessons you learned along the way, and count on the fact that they will come back to help you in the future.

   Most of all, don’t let it get you down.  Keep going.  If you’ve fallen off the metaphorical horse, get back on right away.  The best way to erase the taste of failure is to replace it with the fresh taste of victory.  Don’t give yourself time to sulk or be depressed. If you do, these feelings will build up and make it much harder for you to get back in the game.

You’re going to fail at times.  Accept it, prepare for it, learn from it, and move past it.  As film legend Mickey Rooney once said, “You always pass failure on the way to success.”

What are some of the memorable failures you’ve experienced in your career, and how did you respond to them? Leave a comment and share your thoughts below!