Sometimes You Fail-Tactics to Overcome Project Failure and Rebound Quickly

December 23, 2016  •  Leave a Comment fail.

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill

One thing is nearly a guarantee in life, you WILL fail! It is nearly a certainty in this life we live. Sometimes projects don't come to fruition quite like you thought or you don't perform as well in a particular situation as you expected yourself to. In this blog post I am going to share an example of a failed project in my personal life and a few tips on how to rebound from a failure or setback.

At the beginning of 2016 I, like many others, chose to take on a project that was outside of my comfort zone that would push me to get better. I decided to attempt to visit all of the State Parks in the state of Oklahoma in a calendar year. I intended to use this project to accomplish several things: to visit parts of the state that I grew up in, to travel more than I did in 2015, and to have more days outside than I did in 2015. 

I started in January and visited a park simply because I had just purchased a new bike and wanted to put it to work on a decent trail. That started a series of visits to parks including some extremely local like Cherokee Landing and Sequoyah State Park and some that I had never visited like Osage Hills and Lake Murray State Park. Below are a few images from several of those trips throughout the year.



Those images show some of the best of the parks that I visited. The trips were not failures by themselves, but the project as a whole was a failure. I visited a measly 40% of Oklahoma state parks by November. FORTY PERCENT! I find it really healthy to figure out why a particular project failed. The biggest contributing factor to my failure was the number of other projects that I took on during 2016. During the same year I made/will make major repairs to my home and one of my vehicles, purchased a school bus and began converting it into a camper, and made two separate week-long trips to Colorado. All the while, maintaining a full time job. It has been one of the busiest and most fulfilling years of my life. 

Here is how I have recovered and bounced back from failure on a project:

  1. Reflect- Like I said above, I don't truly get over a failure or hang-up until I reflect on why a project did not go as planned. In my life, this is usually through lists and notes taken along the way and trying to look at the project objectively. This process helps to find small "wins" that might have still surfaced out of the failure. In the case of my project, I accomplished one of the main goals that I had set and traveled outside more than I did in 2015. 
  2. Socialize- Get out and interact with other people and don't fixate on your failure. In fact, share your failure with your peers and friends. By sharing your failure you are giving way to some potentially real human interaction and getting it out of your head and into the world. 
  3. Start a New Project- Dump your self into something new! One of the main reasons that I fizzled out on this project was due to some new opportunities like getting the chance to build out a school bus into a tiny home on wheels! (Stay tuned for that blog post in January of 2017)

Whatever you do, don't sit around and fixate on your failures. Get out and start something new. It doesn't have to be a resolution or a year-long project, but invest your time and effort into something that challenges you and helps you grow. Better yet, invest your time in helping others in need.

Do you have any similar stories of failure and bounce back? Please share them in the comments below or e-mail me at I am always looking for contributors to the blog or guest posts to my IG feed. As always, you can follow me on Instagram @okienomads


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