Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor Talks Coping with Failure

A look at what we experience in failure and how to convert that experience into success

janet taylor

Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor recently spoke to BlackEnterprise.com about the psychological effects of failure in entrepreneurship and how to bounce back in spite of it all. Check out what she had to say.

BlackEnterprise.com: What are the psychological effects of failure?

Dr. Taylor: The psychological effects of failure can be that you develop a “why try” mindset which means that you don’t take risk. You allow the unknown to take over your actions so you can get stuck, you can get anxious, you can feel sad and lose hope—which is more extreme. Most people who have an entrepreneurial mindset know that failure is part of the process so the real key is how adaptable and flexible you are and your willingness to learn from the experience.

What happens in failure that causes the downward spiral? What messages are we conveying to ourselves when we fail?

It’s mostly our inner dialogue and our thoughts. It’s really about us, as individuals, understanding that negative thoughts can really hold us hostage and releasing it and replacing it with something positive. A lot of people think it’s your actions that drive results but getting control of your inner dialogue and that voice in your head is what really can drive results.

What would you say is the next step after a seemingly large failure?

You should always have a plan. Find mentors, support groups, or someone that you trust who can give you the right guidance to evaluate what happened. Part of being an entrepreneur and making it and rising above failure is not necessarily to be risk adverse but being willing to dive into your failures so that you can deal with it and move on. When you fail, it’s really an opportunity to examine everything—from A to Z. Pick out what you can, get advice if you can, and maybe change direction.

Is there an upside to failure?

The upside is what you learn. We learn the most from the difficult times. We learn about ourselves, we learn about other people and what we need to do. The other upside is that you can pat yourself on the back because you tried and because you tried, you’ll be more willing to try again.

What can be done to overcome failure?

You have to be willing to explore it. Understand how you’ve overcome in the past. Understand what you need to do to try to protect yourself or learn more.

Really be curious about what happened; why didn’t it work? Work on that muscle of curiosity and be willing to listen to others.

Learn more about surviving and thriving in entrepreneurship at the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, Loews Hotel Miami, Miami, Florida, May 4–7. REGISTER NOW.



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