No one is perfect. And no matter how hard we might try, mistakes happen. Everyone, at one time or another, has experienced a failure at work. At my last job, I mistakenly infected the entire office with a computer virus just three days before my annual performance review was scheduled to take place. I’ll never forget it. It definitely wasn’t my finest moment!

Failure isn’t fun. It’s often upsetting and depressing. But we all experience it. So what can you do to overcome it? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Accept the fact that mistakes happen – Keep in mind that everyone experiences failures. This is especially true of people who are trying to do new, difficult, and challenging things.
  • Go ahead and feel upset – Don’t try to keep your emotions bottled up inside. If you do, they’ll probably just come out in other, damaging ways. (For instance, you might end up lashing out at friends or becoming increasingly negative about your work in general.) Take a couple days to be upset. It’s OK to wallow for a little while.
  • Talk to someone you trust – It’s a great way to sort out your feelings and release some stress. In addition, some feedback can help you to take a more balanced look at the event.
  • Think about what happened – Take some time to think about how or why the mistake happened. Be honest with yourself. It’s the only way that you can learn from the experience.
  • Learn from it – If you don’t learn from your mistake, you’ll most likely repeat it. So try to determine what you can do to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
  • Tackle a new project – Now it’s time to move on! Don’t forget about the failure (because it’s important to learn from it), but don’t dwell on it either. Take on a new project, and focus your efforts on it. Taking on a new challenge will help to dispel any lingering, negative emotions, and make you feel more positive and enthusiastic about your work.


Allan, P. (2014, June 30). How to move past failure. Lifehacker. Retrieved from:

Young, G. (2014, September 4). 4 steps to overcoming failure and using it to your advantage. Fast Company. Retrieved from: