By Suzanne Kane
If you’ve lived a few years, you’ve experienced failure. More than once, most likely, and probably many times. For every success, the backstory usually involves a string of different approaches of varying degrees of promise before arriving at one that worked. While some are cowed by failure and cannot see beyond it, others find ingenious solutions arising from failure. How do you transform failure into success? Here are some thoughts.
The Benefits of Failure:
“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.” – Roger Von Oech
Nobody immediately thinks failure is good. Yet, failure holds valuable lessons for those who choose to examine it closely. The most obvious benefit is that you know what didn’t work this time. Will the same approach work another time? If you carefully analyze what happened and how your actions either contributed to failure or helped sabotaged success, you may be able to modify or revise your strategy.
For example, look at why you didn’t complete a work project on time. Maybe you didn’t allow enough time to do the job right. Perhaps you required more resources that you forgot to or intentionally didn’t obtain. You might have needed the assistance of others, but didn’t ask until it was too late. Whether arrogance, over-confidence, short-sightedness or improper time management, the lessons you learn from this failure can prove beneficial in the long run.
The next benefit of failure is the opportunity to try something new.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about failure is that it is never permanent. There are always lessons to learn from mistakes and opportunities to try different approaches the next time. Failure does not characterize who you are. You are not a failure, you’ve just made some mistakes. It’s what you do about them that matters most.
Fall Down, Get Up:
“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.” – Marilyn Monroe
Everyone fails sometime. It isn’t the fact that you fail that’s the determining factor, but what you do about it. Many people say that it’s only by making mistakes that you learn anything truly valuable. Instead of fearing failure and doing everything you can to avoid it, accept that failure will occur. Then, figure out what happened so you don’t make the same mistake twice.
In other words, if you fall down, get up. You will make progress if you maintain determination, keep a good attitude, try different approaches and enlist the support of those who encourage your goals.
Still, failure hurts, especially when you’ve worked so hard to succeed. Put aside counterproductive emotions, pick yourself up, and get back to the task at hand. Life may be telling you something you didn’t want to hear. Maybe you need repeated instruction in certain life lessons before the reality begins to sink in. Now is the time and this is the place to begin.
You’ve fallen down, now get back up and get to work. In the end, this is the only approach that will revitalize you, marshal your motivation, and fuel your determination to succeed.
Turn Failure Into Success:
“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” – Yogananda
Failure is so disagreeable that no one wants to think about it, let alone experience it. Yet, each of us goes through experiences that don’t always turn out as anticipated.
What can we learn from failure? Successful people know that within failure lies the opportunity to learn valuable lessons. Some even say their success today is because they failed on numerous occasions. Instead of seeing failure as despicable and to be avoided at all costs, they appreciated failure’s humbling experience provides. They also found the nuggets of wisdom inherent in each failure.
In other words, they were able to turn failure into success.
The key is to be disciplined enough to look for the lessons that failure provides. Indeed, the best time to work through priorities and rearrange them according to what is meaningful comes at the lowest point of experience. That’s when values crystallize and the insignificant and unimportant become apparent. Turning failure into success can be learned with practice, determination and a hopeful attitude.