Though it might not be easy to admit to ourselves, we’ve all failed before. Facing our defeats can be tough, but it’s also incredibly valuable. Believe it or not: our failures can become our successes.
Yeah, you heard that right! We’re pro-failure over here! Well, to a point. We’re definitely not telling you to go out and tank every task you’re given. But we are here to reframe failures not as endings, but the beginnings of learning experiences that can help motivate you onto the next success.
Still at a loss for how to find some form of success in your failures? Then read on, and consider that you just might be able to turn things around.
Admit Your Mistakes
The biggest obstacle we face in overcoming our failures and turning them into successes is admitting that the failure occurred in the first place. It’s hard to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I messed up.” But if we don’t, we stay stuck in a cycle of shame and self-doubt. However, after we admit we made a mistake, we can then look at ourselves in the mirror and say “Here’s how I’m going to fix it.”
A real life example: Kevin Miller, CEO and Co-Founder of GR0, a successful digital advertising agency, recently recounted in a blog post a time he failed, by recommending the services of an SEO agency to a company he was working with. The SEO agency turned out to be a fluke, and Miller’s recommendation caused the company he worked for to lose a good amount of money over time. But Miller wasn’t going to let this failure define him. After acknowledging his mistake in trusting the faulty SEO agency, Miller went on to create his own SEO agency, with the promise to never put clients through what he experienced.
Making a mistake, no matter how big or small, can be terrifying. When you mess something up, it’s understandable to be immediately overwhelmed with fearful thoughts: “What if my mistake causes a chain reaction?” “What if people think I’m incompetent?” “What if I lose my job?”
While it’s important to consider the consequences of your actions, it’s key to not get incapcitated by worries about what they might be. An easy way to do that? Use your fear, and see it for what it is. Just that. An idea. A helpful acronym many people use is: F.E.A.R. AKA “False Evidence Appearing Real.”
Fear after making a mistake can paralyze us. But, when we recognize that we can’t operate off of fear, and choose to base our actions off of concrete evidence, we can acknowledge our mistakes, correct them, and move forward confidently knowing they won’t happen again.
Ask for Help
Sometimes, the best thing we can do when we fall flat on our faces, is to ask someone to help us up. It can be intimidating to reach out to others for help when we feel like we haven’t done our best. We feel unworthy of assistance. We feel like we have to be strong in order to prove that we can get back up again. When in fact: being vulnerable is a strength. Tell people why you think you failed, and what you need help with. While you might feel alone in your failure, you’re actually surrounded by many people who have failed in their own ways, and will be there to lend a hand to help you achieve your goals.
Plan for the Next Failure
That’s right! You’re bound to fail again. But you don’t need to be afraid of failing, because you know how to formulate an action plan for when that next failure occurs. Remember Kevin Miller’s story at the top of the article? Miller experienced the same failure of putting his faith in the wrong SEO agency four more times in his career. That is, until he made a plan: create his own business to ensure that he, and his clients, never experienced the same fate.
When you plan for failure, you’re able to minimize potential damage, and make it easier to move on to the next success that’s waiting down the road for you. You spend less time wallowing and more time walking forward with your chin up.
Though it’s hard to come to terms with not getting what we want, failure is a natural part of life. We eat, we breathe, we fail…and we get back up again to move toward the next success. When we reframe our idea of failures as condemning events, and reframe them as learning experiences, we turn our losses into gains. While it can be scary, failing allows us to face our fears and grow into even stronger and more successful versions of ourselves than we could ever imagine. What’s one way you’ve reframed a failure into a success recently?