How do you bounce back from a poor performance? Sometimes our results are not what we expected or hoped for. There will be moments where you fall short whether it’s in school (bombing a test you thought you did well on), sports (placing much lower in a competition than you wanted), or life (not getting the job after you felt like you crushed the interview). Those moments are a stopping point for many, who take the failure as an excuse to give up and try easier things.


Our mindset has to be stronger if we want to move past those disappointments and get back to the success we are striving for. Good news: there are easy ways to accomplish this! Here are 5 simple steps you can take any time you have a poor performance. They will help you bounce back and remain positive, moving beyond the poor performance and back to your maximum potential.


1) Diagnose problems – You wouldn’t go to the doctor and refuse to tell them what’s wrong while demanding to be fixed. It’s the same with your mindset. You need to know what the problems are so you can confront and overcome them. Think about the process that led to the results. Did you skip study time or study the wrong materials? Did you miss classes? Did you ask questions about anything you were confused about? Find out where you could have improved and start adjusting your schedule accordingly.

2) Use feedback from others – Ask your friends, parents, teachers, and anyone else in your support group. Sometimes you get stuck on a problem. An outside perspective can help you move past it and get back to winning! Make sure to ask specific questions so you can get the best feedback possible.

3) Create action steps towards solutions – Don’t just say “I need to get better at studying.” Have a specific plan. “I will ask the best students in the school how they study and incorporate their methods.” Think about the problems that you diagnosed and the feedback you received. Then, come up with the most specific action plan you can create to address those problems and eliminate them. Write your plan down and monitor your progress.

4) Consider every step of the process – When we have a poor performance, usually we think about the performance alone. Consider everything that led up to that performance whether it was a test, presentation, competition, or anything else. Think about how you slept and ate prior to the event. What did you do to fuel your motivation and keep your confidence high? Who or what did you surround yourself with leading up to the poor performance? Step back from the moment and evaluate the big picture. Sometimes the changes you needed to make happened well before the day of the event.

5) Keep it productive – It’s natural to beat ourselves up after having a bad performance in anything. Feeling bad, pouting, or being angry with yourself are not productive feelings. They keep you stuck in place and force you to worry about problems instead of focusing on solutions. View every bad performance as a necessary part of a bigger picture. Your failures will lead to your bigger successes if you allow them to. Forgive your mistakes quickly and go through the steps of fine-tuning your process to ensure that your results continue to improve. Productive thoughts lead to productive actions.


Next time you have a poor performance, have these 5 steps saved. Come back to it, go through the steps, and allow your worst performances to set you up for your best ones! Mindset makes the difference.