Business or career failure is one of the most painful experiences in life. Every month several businesses fail and individuals lose jobs, throwing their careers into turmoil.

Failure may be occasioned by factors such as economic problems, natural disaster, bad judgment, illness or acts of others opposed to you as an individual.

Nevertheless, failure is a leadership test. Good leaders don’t cave in. Business leaders don’t fail; it is businesses that fail. Professions don’t end; it is jobs that end.

Failure provides lessons and energises leaders to strategise and come back with greater determination and vigor.

True, we have many business leaders who manage to come back after a terrible business failure but also we should embrace the reality that most of them don’t.

So what prevents some leaders of failed businesses or professionals who lose top jobs from coming back and excelling in another outfit?

Well, the single greatest hindrance to bouncing back after failure is the tendency to blame oneself and dwell on the past rather than look ahead into the future dazzling with opportunities.

Resilience, the ability to transcend adversity and bounce back to success after failure, is the hallmark of a great leader.

Failure is never permanent unless one admits it and gives up. As a leader, one of the fundamental truths that you must embrace as your mantra is the conviction that you can triumph over any tragedy as long as you are alive.

However, you must carefully choose how to launch your comeback. Fighting for a comeback calls for strategy. For instance, if you fail in your business due to whatever factor, you must know what you need to do differently to make a comeback.

In most cases, what brought you to the top before failure may not bring you back to the top. This is because the business environment is rapidly changing. The business tactics that worked two, three or five years ago may not make sense today. You thus have to think and act differently.

Sometimes you don’t even need to fight back. You may need to leave the baggage behind and shift your mind and focus on something different. It could be a different line of business or career.

Another important thing that you must do for a successful comeback is to swallow your pride. You must humble yourself and change your lifestyle. Simply admit that there are certain things you cannot afford and adjust your life accordingly.

Talk to your family members and friends and let them know that fortunes have changed and many things will not be business as usual. Explain to them that you are in a battle to regain your status. Enlist their support but don’t rely on it. Many will not support you yet. Be prepared to be lonely as you fight for your life as most of them will come back when you succeed. This is life.


This article was first published in The Business Daily on April 30, 2019.

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