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Creating Successful Leaders

When things are tough, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. That’s a perfectly normal and natural reaction. However, problems ensue when that “woe is me” mentality becomes long-term and begins to affect other areas of your life. You might start to blame other people or circumstances for your problems while, at the same time, doing nothing to fix them.

How can you escape a “woe is me” mentality? Try the following 4 suggestions:

1. Take Ownership

Nobody likes failures, but it doesn’t do a lick of good to blame others. Take ownership for your role in the failure, even if others did contribute to it. This helps shift you from pointing fingers to problem solving.

2. Recognize That Pity Parties are Unproductive

Feeling sorry for yourself might feel good for a while (no harm in eating a few scoops of ice cream and watching a movie while you pout!), but it is ultimately unproductive. Recognize that what you’re feeling can and should be a non-permanent state. Allow yourself to experience those feelings of sadness or disappointment, and then resolve to move on.

3. Move Into Problem-Solving Mode

Though it can be tempting to wallow at times, remind yourself that you’re stronger than that. The next time you feel entrenched in sadness, challenge yourself to problem solve. This could be as simple as journaling about your situation, or as involved as creating a mind map or bringing together your team to brainstorm some solutions.

4. Focus on Your Wins

When you’re feeling down about a failure, attempt to focus on the positive. No matter how bad things get, there is always a bright side. Think about the things that have gone well recently, and how to replicate them. Remind yourself that you do experience little victories in life (landing a certain job, getting a positive annual review, earning a bonus, nailing a certain project, coming up with a creative solution, etc., etc.). Focus on those wins and use that energy to propel you forward. 

Failure isn’t forever. If you’re upset about a recent obstacle or pitfall, that’s okay. Allow yourself to feel that way for a time, and then move on. Get yourself into a problem-solving mentality and leave your failure in the dust.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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