How to Handle Failure – My 5 Step Process

Dec 21

I’m writing a book. I’ve been working on the book for quite some time. While writing for a few hours yesterday I addressed the topic of failure. This is my sweet spot! When I’m asked to speak at events, this is one topic that I really enjoy discussing, probably because I’ve dealt with more failure in my 32 years of life than anyone can imagine. Even though they should, the majority of people just don’t know how to handle failure. They go about it the wrong way. They always do their best to avoid it. You can thank the movement that “failure isn’t an option” for that one. Whoever came up with that saying clearly has never experienced any success. When I see someone post it online, all I picture is this middle aged man living in his mother’s basement never doing a damn thing because he’s too afraid to fail. Failure is the only stepping stone to success. Once you understand it, then you can move forward.

We all fail in many different areas, but I’d like to elaborate on the health and fitness aspect since we are coming upon the New Year when everyone and their mother creates a New Years Resolution to lose weight. As an online fitness Coach, I always experience a surge around this time of the year. People believe and tell themselves that “this is the year” that they finally change. Three weeks into the new plan they come across their first obstacle. Maybe they aren’t dropping the pounds like they thought they would or maybe they had a slip up in their nutrition, which are both very common. However, how they handle that obstacle is why most people can never get past the 3 week mark. Instead of taking a step back, analyzing why they might have slipped up or where they might have went wrong and then making quick adjustments, they get frustrated. The frustration leads to them pulling back from the workouts and proper nutrition, which adds back on the weight. They get frustrated even more and end up giving up and going back to their old, unhealthy lifestyle. I’ve experienced this with people too many times for my liking.

I have developed a 5 step process, though, regarding how to handle failure. If you are that person that gets frustrated when you fail, fears failure, or tries to avoid failure all together, I want you to apply this process from this point on. What’s going to happen if you actually follow this process is that you’re going to notice all aspects of your life improve. You will also become a hell of a lot less stressed out because you will stop worrying when you do fail. I’ve had a lot of success in life with business, fitness, and relationships, because I have consistently used this process over the years.

The Spencer 5 Step Failure Process

Step 1: Embrace failure. While most people avoid and fear failure, I embrace it. Whether you like it or not it’s going to happen! Stop looking at it like it’s some bad thing. It’s not. Failure is great if you handle it properly. The first step is that you accept that it’s necessary in order for you to move towards success with whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve. When you accept it, you no longer run from it and actually look forward to it. For example, maybe you have been working out for a month and have only lost a few pounds when you expected to lose about 15. Instead of getting down on yourself about it, embrace it, because this won’t be the last time you experience an issue like this.

Step 2: Write down what you failed with and why you believe you failed with it. I like to write things down because when I see something it becomes real. If I just think about what I failed with it’s very easy for me to forget it and neglect working out a solution. I like to write down what I failed with and why I feel like I failed with it. In the same example above, write down the fact that you aren’t losing weight and then the reasons why you feel it could be happening. Are you eating too much? Are you eating the right things? Are you having too many cheat meals? Are you not pushing hard enough during the workouts? Are you doing the right workouts? Are your macros incorrect?

Step 3: Figure out a solution for the failure. You already know why you failed, now it’s time to figure out a solution so that you don’t fail with that same thing again. I don’t want you spending too much time thinking about a solution. Rather, this needs to be quick, maybe a day or so, sometimes more if it’s a major failure. Once you figure out that solution, write it down. With the same example, think about the things that you can adjust so that you can get yourself out of the plateau. Maybe you figured out that you indeed were taking in too many calories. Write it down along with the new amount that you plan to consume daily.

Step 4: Seek help from a mentor. One thing that I like to do quite often is go to someone who knows more than me about the specific thing or area that I failed with. I will then explain to them what I failed with, why I believe I failed with it, and my proposed solution to the problem so that I can get their input. Many times they will tell me that they have experienced that failure before and can offer some great input on what I can do to get beyond it. If they haven’t experienced that failure before, they can at least offer up some different ideas for a solution. In the example above, this is where a fitness Coach like me comes into play. You would come to me, explain the situation, talk about your possible solution and then I would give my input. With my experience, though, I don’t actually believe that it’s because you’re taking in too many calories. I think it has a lot to do with the amount of sugar you’re consuming. We then adjust your macros accordingly.

Step 5: Take immediate action. This is the most important step of all. Without action there is no success. It’s pointless to go through steps 1-4 if you don’t apply what you learned. Most people learn a great deal from others and research and always have fantastic ideas, but they never act on those ideas. Eventually without acting you will forget and move on to something else. With the example, you can’t wait on making the changes to your macros. You need to make those changes the very next day so that you can start moving in the right direction again.

My 5 step process on how to handle failure works! You just have to put it into action. Get into the habit of using this process every time you fail. Remember, failure is going to happen! Embrace it, analyze it, talk to someone about it, figure out a solution, and put that solution into action. If you have any questions for me or would like to be coached by me, you can message me on my Facebook Page.

About the Author

My name is Josh Spencer and I'm a husband, father, online fitness Coach (since 2008), soon to be author, and holistic healing advocate. Since 2008 I've helped thousands and thousands of people make a change in their health! I believe that in order to make incredible changes you have to have the right mindset, nutrition, and workout plan.