Bouncing Back From Failure With Small Wins

We all suffer setbacks, fail in our endeavors, get demotivated but true strength is in coming back. I have failed several times – in academics, in personal life, in professional life  – I was miserable when it came to learning new languages, I hated networking events and would end up standing in a corner,  but I have always bounced back. I ended up in top 5% of my class in the language course I was really bad at. I made a career switch by making connections at a networking event. How did I do it?

The answer is small wins. Small wins are immensely powerful, they can provide motivation, encouragement and the confidence you need to get back on your feet. Small wins act as catalysts that will help you achieve larger goals.

Small wins are part of our DNA

If you want to run a marathon, you will not try to run the full distance the very first time you train for it. First you will set a smaller target and try to achieve it, then you will continually increase the distance you run. What is happening here? You are creating small wins for yourself (of course you are also building stamina to run such a long distance but the motivation and the sense of victory you get every time you push your limits are the small wins that help you go forward).

How to create small wins?

In order to bounce back from failures you can create small wins in a strategic way.

Set goals you can achieve: We often set unrealistic goals. While setting goals, we don’t see the obstacles we will have to face, the things which are out of our control but can have an impact on our goals. When you have just suffered from a failure and you want to get back on your feet, set small and achievable goals for yourself and make it a point to complete them.

Lower your expectations (temporarily): Have you observed that when you walk in to a movie theater with high expectations you are often disappointed (even if the movie was better than an average movie) and then sometimes you have very low expectations with the movie but you really enjoy it (although it was a below average movie). We perceive success and failure relative to how we set our expectations for the endeavor. Lower your expectation temporarily and you will be able to better able to achieve success. This does not mean you have to lower you expectations permanently, only till the time you have some wins under your belt.

Enjoy and celebrate wins: Celebrating wins give you confidence and even more motivation. Enjoy with people who helped you achieve this win, thank them. They are people who care for you and your future success will also depend on them.

Build on your wins: Set small targets and keep moving towards them. This will help you make incremental progress. In fact, you can break down almost any large task in to smaller tasks and achieve them; creating small wins for you in the process. These small wins will give you the boost to purse the next task and create yet another small win. Incrementally pursuing these small tasks will help you achieve your larger targets.

How do you plan to use small wins to bounce back from failure? Has small wins helped you achieve something you thought was impossible?

photo by: law_keven

5 thoughts on “Bouncing Back From Failure With Small Wins

  1. Gillian @ Money After Graduation December 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Great tips! Small wins can definitely be motivating and help to achieve the big ones!

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