How to Deal with Failure at Work

how to deal with failure at work

We’ve all failed before. Whether it was striking out, forgetting an important assignment, or falling short of your boss’s expectations, failure probably wasn’t the most fun thing to experience. But it happened, and we survived, and then it probably happened again. And again. And again. Since we’re not always going to be perfect, we have to learn how to deal with failure at work.

As humans, we fear failure to such an extent that often we settle for mediocrity over eventual success, knowing the risks of failure involved with success. Yet, failure isn’t simply a risk involved; it is a stepping stone to success. In order to reach ambitious goals, you must first fail. It equips you with the knowledge and ability to get closer and closer to your final goal.

The steps you take after failure, though, are important in reaching that goal. If you take the wrong steps, you may make the same mistakes or give up entirely. But if you work in the right direction, you will get yourself back on track after picking yourself up and dusting yourself off. Seeing failure as an opportunity for growth can make all the difference in the world.

So, what steps do you take after you fail?


You can’t change the past. Accept it for what it is, realize that you made some mistakes, and forgive yourself. There’s no need to beat yourself up continually; we all make mistakes, and we all fail once or twice along the road.

You should also accept that failure is inevitable. It will happen to every single person, no matter how hard they try to avoid it, somewhere along the line. Failure is, and should be, a part of our lives. We fail when we set ambitious goals or try new things, both of which we should always do as human beings. High goals and new experiences push us beyond our limits and better our abilities. The simple reality is that if you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough. When we learn to accept failure, we enable ourselves to move past the setbacks and towards success.


Once you’ve accepted your failed attempts, it’s time to move on and analyze the mistakes that you made. Rather than simply recognizing that you made them, you need to understand why and how you made your mistakes. Ask yourself what did and did not work. What could you have done differently? Why would you do certain things differently the next time? Go over the steps and processes and the inner workings of what happened. You cannot correct the problems effectively until you fully understand the problems.

Avoid the Fear of Failure

If you failed once, chances are that you probably fear failing when you dust yourself off and try again. But that shouldn’t be the case. If you fear failure, you hold yourself back from achieving success because you almost invariably set your standards lower. Rather than pushing yourself, you choose plans and actions that you know you can accomplish. In order to find eventual success, you must continue to set ambitious goals and high standards, things that you can only do when you push the fear of failure out of your mind. Our fears of failure hold us back.


Once you learn to stop fearing failure, you can move closer towards success. You leave the failure in your past, but take with you the lessons that it brought you. When you gather lessons from a failure, you realize that in order for you to succeed, you had to experience that failure. Some failures make us stronger, wiser, and more equipped for the eventual triumph. The lessons guide us as we advance and reach the success that we hoped for. You may experience more failures along the way, but each and every one serves as a reminder that you are pushing yourself beyond your limits and making yourself greater.