Instead of defining failure in terms of shame and subsequent defeat, Santiago Arana says, it’s important that you pick yourself up, learn from the situation and keep moving forward.

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This article was last updated April 18, 2023.

Failure and rejection are painful experiences that can be especially unsettling in the moment. In the real estate business, it’s inevitable that you will face rejection and failure. Even as your career grows, there is always the chance of a setback occurring from circumstances that are well out of your control.

Even the biggest producers will tell you countless tales of rejection and failure — myself included. It’s not possible to conduct business without experiencing challenging times, but without them, it will hinder your growth and performance.

Right now, there are a lot of circumstances that are out of our control, and we need to prepare for an uncertain future likely filled with setbacks.

Instead of defining failure in terms of shame and subsequent defeat, it’s important that you pick yourself up, learn from the situation and keep moving forward. I count my blessings for all my difficult times as they have made me a better person, both personally and professionally. I am a great believer in the idea that the more you fail, the closer you are to succeeding.

Here are three ways to turn failure into a tool for success.

Redefine the meaning of failure and rejection

Self-defeating, defensive attitudes can be a result of failure and rejection. We can control how we react to challenging moments, how we define them and what we do with it in the future. Learn to examine your failure and embrace rejection as part of personal growth.

Agents need to be versatile and adapt to circumstances as they arise. When I face difficulties in business, I take time to reflect on ways in which I could have improved or avoided the situation, and then I make a change. This ultimately allows me to improve myself and my internal systems, and it positively affects the way I do business. Failure is all about perception.

Reconfirm your passion

Often, failure results from diminished passion. You’ll realize you weren’t as passionate about a project as you first thought. As you eliminate tasks from your workload, you’ll make more room for what really excites you and direct your energy toward that.

If you feel like you’re getting hit with rejection after rejection, start fresh. Go back to the drawing board, and write out your top three goals for the year. Whatever those are, start doing one thing every day toward that goal. If you can do five things every day toward that goal, you will get there even faster, and you will have more successes than failures.

Appreciate your wins

The greatest achievements come from the toughest endeavors. After you’ve experienced failure, when you make it to the finish line, you’ll express more gratitude for your achievements.

By recognizing your accomplishments, you build real confidence that gives you the strength to continue to expand your horizons. Going through the process of rejection allows you to become a master of producing results, and it’s important to celebrate what you achieve as you go.

Expect to have trials along your way, and know that you will rise above them. Whether there is one obstacle or 100, if you focus on what you can control and your efforts, you will reap the benefits of your perseverance. Your success will come from your growth and your experiences — the good, bad and, especially, the difficult.

Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.

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