Balance

How to Embrace Failure

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It’s normal to feel fear (hesitation, doubt, uncertainty) and pull back from a situation or avoid it all together. It’s normal to not go after something because you assume that the answer will be no or that it won’t work out. But if you’re ready to be better, then you have to practice being brave, getting uncomfortable and going after whatever you want.

How you define failure matters. How you talk about and think about failure matters. It’s all about your perspective. Identify your outlook on failing and understand if your thoughts are helping you or holding you back.

I don’t think anyone really likes failing but we have to become more clear with what exactly we mean by “failure” and what our expectations are. It’s impossible not to fail. You also can’t stop failure from happening. But you can name it, change your perspective, redefine it and use it to propel you forward. Failure doesn’t have to be all bad.

Could you gain a new, refreshing outlook on failure?

3 Key Steps for Learning How to Embrace Failure

1. Reframe it.

Instead of the word “failure,” use something more positive like “stepping stone,” “learning lesson,” “growth moment,” “eye opener” or “a way to help you clarify what works and what doesn’t.”

2. Redefine it.

When you are anticipating an upcoming event or situation that you don’t want to “fail” in, take five to 10 minutes to identify and specify exactly what would be considered a failure to you.

What would failure be?

What specifically would make you feel like a failure or that you failed?

3. After you’ve defined what exactly “failure” would be to you, write down what thoughts and behaviors you can control to keep that from happening.

What can I influence and how can I stay focused on those factors?

Are my expectations realistic and are they helping me feel confident, calm and prepared?

After improving your perspective, you’re ready to take the next step. This may seem very different from what you’ve heard in the past, but here it goes. Try to fail, as much as you can. Do something today until you’re unsuccessful, it doesn’t work out or you come up against a roadblock. Again, this isn’t failure. This is a stepping stone toward you gaining more experience, clarity and motivation. You’ll begin to feel more comfortable failing and you’ll actually achieve more because you’ll be trying more. You’re trying to fail and therefore it takes the stigma away.

You soon find that “messing up” isn’t so bad after all. That coming up short or getting a “no” isn’t the end of the world. You build your mental strength and confidence each time you go after something. Instead of doing everything in your power not to fail, try to fail more often. In my opinion, the only real failure is the failure to try.

Failure only has as much weight as you give it. You can perceive it as negative and therefore give failure a stronger hold on you. Or you can see it as positive, as effort, and you can actually embrace it. You won’t know unless you try. Throw some enthusiasm in there and you’ll see doors fly open and a crazy amount of success will start flowing your way.

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