At this year’s Oscars, a number of once fallen women sauntered across the red carpet as not only winners but at the top of one of the world’s most competitive fields. Of course, Kathryn Bigelow is the biggest winner. Having suffered through flops, she has now secured her place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest directors. Sandra Bullock, after having received a Razzie the day before, demonstrated the grace of a good loser.
Am I the only one to notice that women who succeed are often carrying briefcases full of lessons learned through failure on their way to the top? These successful women have managed to psychologically overpower the negativity associated with failure. Few viewed Sandra Bullock as an Oscar contender after she picked up the Razzie for worst actress the night before, yet she rose above the crowd, and maybe even a few snickers, as she awaited her greater destiny at the Oscars.
These women were able to draw from a repository of inner strength. At the first sign of failure, it is important to keep things in perspective. You lost the major account but the sun is still shining, your well-adjusted children are at home waiting to go to the park and your sales are edging up year-over-year. Look on the bright side. You are in sales, not acting. Nothing could be worse than winning the Razzie.
Build a repository of strength by making values-driven goals and decisions. Write down your values and line them up with your goals. Note the positive values-driven outcomes in your life. By sticking steadfast to your values, you will be able to develop a repository of strength to achieve your next set of goals.
Self-efficacy, or confidence in one’s own abilities, is a strong determinant of success. Values-based actions encourage positivity. Thoughts typically precede and shape actions. Like a coach shouting positive encouragement, positive thoughts will resurface as positive re-enforcements when we are facing our toughest challenges.