Very few people on this earth will tell you that they enjoy failure. As a result, people will do as much as they possibly can to avoid it. Failing is not fun, and it would be wonderful if we could use failure as an immediate launch pad to catapult us into success, but that’s very rarely the case.
There are, however, lessons to be learned from failure and you can use these lessons to grow self-belief.
Lessons You Can Learn From Failure
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Attitude: From the quote above, Michael Jordan showed that he did not give up or give in. He attributes his success to failing ‘over and over again in my life.’ There are countless others who have embraced that belief and forged their way to success. They learned to adapt and change direction rather than giving in to a ‘woe-is-me’ attitude.
Evaluate: Failures come in different sizes and shapes. One person may plunge from success to a million dollars in debt. Another person may see a three or four-generation business passed on to them totally collapse due to economic reversals, while for another person it may be the failure of a program they spent a great deal of research and time on that did not launch successfully. Another may fail to pass an examination that would allow them to graduate.
Large or small, it’s heart-rending and can be life-changing for each person. While the pain of failure and disappointment cannot be overlooked, you must take the time to evaluate what went wrong. Were there warning signs you missed? Did you ignore the advice of well-meaning friends, family, or associates? Did you do market research in the right segments, did you stick to a study schedule or did you cram at the last minute?
The purpose is not to constantly beat up on yourself. It’s to acknowledge and determine what went wrong and what you can learn from these mistakes so that to the extent possible they do not recur.
Be Honest: This could be a part of ‘Attitude” above, but I’m putting it in its own category because you must be honest with yourself. It’s a part of our inherent makeup that when something happens, we want to look for someone or something to blame. Passing the blame from yourself to someone else or to something else will reduce the possibility of you learning from the experience. Blaming others will mask the true reasons and sadly, you’ll not empower yourself to learn and move on.
What You Do AFTER Failure: The best way to treat failure is to start every single day anew. No matter how hard you fall down, always remember that a new day will soon arrive. And each day will bring you another opportunity to try again.
This is not intended to minimize the consequences of major failures in your life or business. Recognizing the failure you experienced is important. The thought behind this is to avoid become over-critical and constantly berating yourself for what happened. Instead, start connecting with others who have been where you are and have managed to rise again, as well as people with whom you can create strategies to correct what went wrong.
Recognize that something you were involved with failed, yet this does not make you a failure as a person. Viewing any failure from this perspective will allow you to take a step back and figure out how to continue.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
Create a Mindset for Success: Your mindset has a lot to do with how you view challenges and failures. Embracing a growth mindset will allow you to push through any challenges and be willing to take well-calculated risks. There will be risks in starting again, many times from scratch. Having a growth mindset will allow you to learn from failures and setbacks, rather than viewing the results as unchangeable and giving up.
Conclusion: While none of us want to deliberately fail at what we do, if it happens, and it probably will, we can seek to learn from any failure we experience. If, however, you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over, then you may need to get help to guide you and discover what’s creating the cycle. Do not allow pride to make you believe you have to go it alone. Learn from others who have experienced and overcome challenges and failures. Use failure to grow your self-belief.
Remember, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.