How To Get Back Up After A Fall

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By Jas Singh

My curtains were closed for weeks. I wanted to stay in bed until late. Everything seemed an effort. I ignored my friends and switched my phone off. I isolated myself and in the event I had to go outdoors I would hurry back to my apartment as quickly as possible.

It was the end of 2008. My entrepreneur journey had come to a screeching a halt. Things seemed to be going so well. We were up to 15 new hires in a year and had been on such a roll. Sales were great. Clients were happy. Repeat business was guaranteed. The dream was alive.

Then bang. The global recession struck. In truth, we had been given ample warning by the media and the newspapers but as a first time business we had no idea about the long term implications that were about to come. Slowly, oh so very slowly, the sales began to dry up. We worked harder to make ends meet. And then late April 2008 our biggest client went bankrupt. Bang again. Over 30% revenue gone overnight.

After finally letting people go (the hardest thing I have and will ever have to do), cutting costs and shelving growth plans we re-started the slow road to recovery.

But I felt like I had failed. The confident, enthusiastic and positive thinking entrepreneur had lost his way.

I had fallen.

Disappointment is part of life and we all know it will come one day. Yet when it comes, rarely do we know what to do. Preparation goes out of the window. It hurts.

Whether it is making a wrong business decision, falling over at a wedding or getting dumped – getting over disappointment takes time.

Yet everyone now knows that the highest achievers have all fallen more than most. And that’s because the key to success is not staying on your feet. Or even how many times you fall. But knowing how to get back up.

Here’s a few ways successful people get back up after a fall:

1) They Reflect

One of the reasons why people struggle to change and move on is that they often try and cover things up. They are unwilling to get honest about circumstances or feelings with others or even themselves. To get over disappointment they try and cram their lives with other things – work, socialising, exercising and so on.

Rarely does that work. If something is important and hurts it is bound to surface sooner or later. Especially when you are alone and there is nothing to do.

Reflecting on a negative experience is essential. It takes time to get over major disappointment, and time needs to be given to mourning. There’s nothing wrong with being upset.

In fact studies have even proved that only once negative emotions have subsided can one reach true acceptance.

It’s important that emotions are released and understood before you can move on.

2) They understand people usually are too busy thinking about themselves

On a few occasions, I’ve had to work with executives who have screwed up big time at the highest level. One gentleman was a successful entrepreneur of a leading software company once worth over a billion dollars who ended up losing everything.

When I asked them what they wanted to do next, their response was exactly the same – “something else, somewhere else”.

When we fall, we want to run away.

As social creatures, our first instinct when disappointment strikes is to think of others. “What will the industry think?”. “How can I face my friends?”. “What will my neighbours say?”.

Even the great Steve Jobs considered running away from the Valley after he was first fired by Apple.

But after 10 years working with thousands of people I’ve learned a big secret.

Most people don’t really care about you falling. They’re too busy thinking about themselves.

Top achievers realise that it’s human nature to over-inflate our importance. Most people will look for a few seconds, maybe comment and then move on with their lives.

3) They bounce back with confidence

Sometimes though people do like to rub it in. Especially towards those who are successful. A passing comment. A couple of jokes. A popular trend on twitter. Denying the truth is pointless. Now what?

Be confident.

There’s something powerful in confidence. It could be someone who can laugh at themselves. Or who is even more driven to succeed. Or a person who is brutally honest about the mistakes they have made and the lessons they have learned.

The bigger the fall overcome, the more confidence developed.

Successful people come back twice as strong.

4) They focus on a new and bigger goal

Disappointment can be used as inspiration. The achievement of virtually any of the greatest leaders through history has followed years of struggle and heartache.

After getting back on their feet, top achievers use the experience of failure as a driving force for even greater achievement.

The bigger the fall, the bigger the new goal. The greater the lesson learned. The greater the effort. And finally the bigger achievement.

Conclusion

Falling hurts. But everyone falls at some point.

The key to success is knowing how to get back up.

Hiring managers should not just focus on candidate achievements – but also when they failed and more importantly how they got back up.

Sometimes this is the most valuable quality of all.

Have you ever taken a fall?

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