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Building Bridges by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante  

Getting back up again

By Cheryl Dizon-Reynante

Throughout my life, I have failed. I have fallen and lost. As a child and teenager, I sometimes missed out on awards, starring roles and playing on sports teams. Adulthood brought on missed job opportunities and promotions. I have failed at being a perfect mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I’m sure that I am not alone when I say that I have past regrets.

We all have had times when we have wanted something badly – a relationship to work out, a dream job, an award, or a first place finish. Sometimes, we put so much effort and wishful thinking into achieving a specific goal that we can’t picture life without this particular success. But it doesn’t always work out, and we all fail sometimes.

This is true even for the famous, such as Oprah Winfrey. She is one of the most successful and richest women in the world, but her life began with poverty and an abusive childhood. She was once fired from her job as a television reporter. The Beatles are one of the most iconic bands of all time, but were once rejected by a recording company who told them, “guitar music was on the way out.” Bill Gates had dropped out of Harvard and his first business idea was a flop. He didn’t give up and went on to build the empire that is Microsoft. A newspaper editor once told Walt Disney that he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” and he started several businesses that failed. Nowadays, Disney is a billion dollar corporation.

These well known individuals all had two things in common. First, they had failed. Most of them did so multiple times. But more important, they were all resilient. This term refers to the ability to recover after loss, adversity and change. Successful individuals are able to heal from their losses, get back up and try again. They take a good hard look at their mistakes and make changes.

Although no one can predict when failure will occur, we can take steps to strengthen our sense of self and overall wellbeing, so that when a blow comes, we can recover.

Count your blessings

When we’re sad or angry, this can be very difficult. But we can get a new perspective if we take a step back to be thankful for the people in our lives, our health, and even our first breath in the morning. Chances are, there are great things in our lives that we take for granted every day.

Celebrate your successes

Looking forward to what the future might hold is wonderful, but we may forget to look backward to see how far we’ve come. I once worked with a client who was depressed after she had been declined a job opportunity. She believed that it was her dream job and knew that it could greatly benefit her family. But after a time of sadness, she was able to recognize that her education, accomplishments and current career was something to be proud of. She had supportive family and friends around her and still enjoyed the work she did. After some time, she found peace in the words, “It is not yet my time to move on.”

Analyze past coping strategies

Do not only look at what you did wrong in the past, but also how you overcame past failures. For instance, did it help to talk about it with a friend or counsellor? Or did taking up exercise help to blow off some steam? If it worked for you once before, it probably will again.

Redefine success

An article by Nash and Stevenson (Harvard Business Review, Feb 2004) explored the idea that success is actually made up of four components.

  • Happiness – Quite simply, this refers to how much joy and satisfaction you have in life. Some people who are rich and famous and seem to be successful, can also be lonely, sad and angry.
  • Achievement – This refers to how close you have come to reaching goals that most people strive for (stable income, family and friends, contributions to society, etc.)
  • Significance – When you make a positive impact on the people you care about, this is success.
  • Legacy – This refers to using your talents and accomplishments to impact the future of other people. Helping others to achieve their own goals and successes can leave you with a great sense of satisfaction.

Nash and Stevenson state that you can only be successful if you hit on all four categories. Take a look at where you are lacking and see what you can do to change it. Also, recognize your limits. If you spend too much time on one goal, it may start to produce anxiety. This is a big clue that this path is no longer rewarding. You might have to change your approach or viewpoint and take a break. And then when you’re ready, you can get back up and try again.

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Cheryl Dizon-Reynante is the founder of Nexus Counselling and a licensed therapist with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She is a proud member of the Manitoba Filipino Business Council and a provider for the Blue Cross Employee Assistance Program. Cheryl has experience helping clients with issues such as grief, depression, relationship difficulties, parenting, aging and illness. She can be reached at (204) 297-6744 or