The world is a hard place. We all fall and crash into it from time to time. Failure hurts, whether it’s your first time or your 500th. And we all feel it. Everyone fails, no one is exempt. Even people who you consider wildly successful have failed, probably more often than you would think, or they would admit. And because we all fail, we all need some time to pick ourselves up, dust off, and get back in the game. Because if there is one thing that’s absolutely true, it’s that failure is only permanent if you stop trying. So get up and keep going, but make sure you give yourself some time for recovery.
We naturally think of recovery as being a purely physical thing. You had a long week, didn’t get enough sleep, and so you have a day off to rest and get your energy back. Or you went to the gym and your body is physically spent, requiring a few days to repair the damaged tissue and bring you back to full strength.
Physical recovery is important, but so are mental and emotional recovery. I would argue that they are more important than physical recovery. We only have so much emotional energy to keep us battling what life throws at us, and when that reservoir runs out, it’s just not easy to cope with anything. The emotional drain can start out as a good feeling, like when you’ve worked really hard at something that comes to fruition, but after that feeling subsides, you still need to recover. Taking the time to ‘recharge your batteries’ is important, otherwise you’ll never regain your full strength.
When it comes to emotional recovery, it ultimately depends on the type of person you are. This is the old introvert vs. extrovert type. Do you need to be out socially with people to recharge? Or do you need the peace and quiet of home and time alone to recover? Even though most people would categorize themselves predominantly as one or the other, I think most people are a combination of both, and each type of activity help to recharge you in a different way.
But the important part of recovery is reflection. It’s the old ‘time heals all wounds’ idea. Reflection is not just thinking, or waiting out frustration, or ignoring a problem. True reflection is considering the steps you took, looking at all the variables, and looking inward as much as outward. It’s about studying how you responded to situations, the way you approached a problem, and how you acted in the moment. This is where the most growth occurs. This is where failure turns from a negative to a positive. This is where recovery really happens.
There is a common idea that says you have to fail again and again and again before you can succeed. This isn’t quite true. Nobody likes to fail, and nobody should try to either. But if, and when, you do fail, fail smart. Don’t just seek out chances to screw up over and over and over, there’s no recovering from that. Instead, honestly reflect on your failures, analyze what needs to change, and constructively criticize your approach. Try your best to succeed, but learn from the mistakes you make.
This is what recovery truly is. It’s seeing the silver lining in the dark cloud. It’s finding the nugget of wisdom in the pile of garbage. It doesn’t mean being immune to failure as much as it means giving yourself a break when you do. Recovery is the point where you learn from your experiences. And if you always learn, you will always recover.
Especially on Monday, with a long week ahead, there more to be focused on than old wounds. Forgive yourself, let it go, keep the lessons, get up, dust yourself off, and have an amazing week.