How to Fail and Bounce Back – Rachel Naomi Remen

Failing and bouncing back is one of the most important ways a woman can succeed. We have to be willing to fail and bounce back if we want to grow — and soar! These thoughts on building resilience are from Rachel Naomi Remen, MD.

“The willingness to win OR lose moves us out of an adversarial relationship to life and into a powerful kind of openness,” writes Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen in Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal. “From such a position, we can make a greater commitment to life.”

Kitchen Table Wisdom is one of my all-time favorite books because it’s all about accepting — living and feeling — both the bitter and the sweet parts of life. There’s no doubt that life brings rejection, failure, heartache, disappointment, and pain…but it also brings success, healing, joy, fulfillment, love and laughter.

We — to be successful women — have to snuggle up to failure and increase our “bouncebackability” factor!

How to Fail and Bounce Back – Rachel Naomi Remen

Dr Remen is an oncologist who never married or had children. She struggled with Crohn’s Disease for most her life, and when she was in her 20s had surgery to remove most of her intestines. Remen knows failure and heartache…and she teaches people how to bounce back to live full, passionate lives.

“Joy seems to be part of an unconditional wish to live, not holding back because life may not meet our preferences and expectations,” writes Remen. “Joy seems to be a function of the willingness to accept the whole, and to show up to meet with whatever there is.”

To bounce back from failure,  let go of your attachment to a specific outcome. Work towards your goal of healing, achieving, or being — but be open to other paths! You’ll be surprised at how many roads to and forms of success exist. For instance, one of the magazines I often wrote for last year has suddenly collapsed…and poof! Just like that, one stream of income burbles down the drain. And, my agent recently reported that his top publishers for my See Jane Soar book have more or less all rejected my proposal. Sigh.

“Rather than the warrior who fights toward a specific outcome and therefore is haunted by the specter of failure and disappointment, it is the lover drunk with the opportunity to love despite the possibility of loss, the player for whom playing is more important that winning or losing,” writes Remen.

To bounce back from failure, trust your gut. For instance, at a party last week I was fascinated by a businesswoman. When she went to refresh her drink, I followed. Five minutes later, I discovered that her health company was looking for a freelance writer to interview doctors and write articles — and I’m a freelance writer who specializes in health articles! We exchanged cards. She’s not a publisher or the editor of a national magazine, but she’s a successful businesswoman – and together, we could achieve goals that we didn’t even know were possible.

To bounce back from failure, don’t fight with your life. Dance with it. To be a successful woman — and better yet, to enjoy your life — practice trusting your gut and following up on events or with people. Be curious about life and people, not stuck on the way things “should” be. Be open to taking new paths, not focused on what “should” happen.

Have you failed and bounced back? Do you let fear of failure (or success) paralyze you? In my writing career, I’ve received dozens of rejections from magazine editors, book publishers, and literary agents…and each rejection matters less.

Don’t be afraid to take a few knocks, my friends. They’ll make you stronger!