Courage to face and make the most of BIG problems and mistakes


I was singing that song this week from the Wizard of Oz where the Lion sings about courage.  We all need courage to do the hard things in life and get ahead, but what happens when you lose your courage?

Maybe you had a bad diagnosis.  Maybe you had a bad annual review.  Maybe you were fired.  Perhaps you failed an exam and now see no way forward.  Somehow, you failed and all the platitudes about everyone failing and needing to get back in the proverbial saddle just make you want to puke.  So, what is to do? 

Grieve. Breathe. Envision. Care. Move and PLAN for success.


You need to grieve the failure, because it is a loss of a plan, an unreached goal.  Before you can move on, you have got to take some time and grieve.  It’s normal and necessary to go through this, but it will take some time to do it well. 


We need to calm down before we can get our courage back.  Breathing of any kind, especially breathing exercises, are great for this. You can also distract yourself with positive activities like listening to music or reading a book.  Whatever you do, it should be positive for you, body mind and spirit, and not harmful to anyone else.  You’re your breaths, you can realize what you have learned from this failure--and then you should remember to start caring for yourself, too.

CARE (for yourself)

Put some self-care into your day and week.  Be grateful, take a bath, go for a walk, call a friend, have a tea or coffee.  Those are all activities that help me care for myself.  What would it be for you?  Schedule some of those activities into your week, and then keep scheduling them.  

Move - and PLAN

One of the laws of physics says that to expend less energy, an object needs to stay in motion, and this goes for us, too.  So, except when you are on holiday, keep the ball(s) rolling while you plan your next moves.

PLAN and then move (keep on moving)

To get somewhere, anywhere you want to go, you will need a plan, so while you are still moving, make a new plan with SMART goals and steps that are just as smart.  When you have that new plan in place move in the new direction.  

Maybe your failure is not so big, and you just need to get up, brush yourself off and move on, but for the bigger failures you will need to grieve, breathe, care, and move and plan. Failure is part of life and it may just lead you to your biggest success.

May your set-backs be stepping-stones to success and may you find your courage to continue again!

Patricia Jehle