How To Get Up After Failure

I’ve just come home after a great tournament, U20 Men European Championship Division B in Hungary. The memories are mixed. Great people, excellent staff, some good games, more average, and 50 degrees celsius in the gym without air conditioning.

To be extremely honest with you, I didn’t prepare much for this tournament. I had my own private life challenges, that I can use as an excuse to cover my first mistake. I didn’t officiate for approximately a month, and last time I refereed 3×3, that is a totally different sport with much more physicality.

You could see it on my first game. Our crew was terrible. A real disaster. The first half went down with so many misses, that we couldn’t even jot all of them down in one sheet of paper, when we watched the tape.

(By the way, it was the first ever game of Kosovo, so it was history made on court.)

I was shot. I tried to hide it, but inside, I was deeply sorry for myself after that game. It was the beginning of the tournament, so I knew that if I don’t come back pretty fast, the results can be devastating. Ok, I thought, it happens for a reason! Maybe I need to come up with a real answer for this challenge.

I kept thinking about it. My second game was better, but then I had the opposite. I called too much, sometimes in front of my colleagues, ruining teamwork. It was “ok” in the end, but I was far from coming back to my true potential.

Then I started to analyse the situation, did some research, and came up with something that really helped.

1. Draw your conclusions

Sit down, close your eyes, and imagine the bad game. I know it’s hard. The trick is to watch it from a distance that is comfortable for you. Watch it from above, from the stands, from the VIP, whatever. The point is to go far away, to change the memory of that game.

It is a simple game with submodalities.

Draw your conclusions. Ask yourself what you can learn from it. What would you do differently?

2. Turn negative emotions into positive

This point is the key here. You live a good life when you have positive emotions. It’s not the money that makes you happy! Not even the experiences you live. It’s the emotions that you feel.

After such a failure, anger, anxiety, fear, and regret takes over. These emotions won’t let you step over.

Ask yourself what you can be grateful for!

Gratitude is the single most useful emotion you can feel to turn your feelings from negative into positive. You will change the exact moment you start to feel how grateful you are to officiate those games. You start to feel great when you realise how grateful you are to be there at the end of the day, or to help others by sharing information (that I do right now).

Feeling gratitude is the first bold step you take towards excellence.

Ask yourself every day: What am I grateful for?

3. Build power

Great referees are strong. Their presence and body language help them sell even the bad (or not so good) calls. Everybody accepts them, even if they make mistakes.

When your emotional state is back into the positive territory, you only want to build up your confidence level. In my online course, there is a full week dealing with this, and here is nice NLP exercise for a quick access to the most confident state in your life.

I am grateful for this experience, because it taught me a lot. If you ever feel down, remember the word: gratitude. If you think it may be helpful, express your gratitude by sharing this post with the ones you think could use it some day.

(Photo credits: Flickr)

About Peter

Peter Papp is an enthusiastic supporter of open-minded referees, international basketball referee (FIBA) and NLP Master Practitioner. Peter is the founder of


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