Mindful Monday: Failure

Do you know anyone who has never failed?

Without failure, we would have the Stephen Speilberg movies ET, Jaws, or Indiana Jones.

Writer J.K Rowling could have stopped handing in her after 12 rejections, but then we wouldn’t have Harry Potter.

What if we change our perspective on failure? What if we see failure as an opportunity rather than a setback? What if we embrace failure as a part of the journey to success?

In order to progress we need to fail. Here are three lessons I’ve learned from my failures.

Teaches Valuable Lessons

Failure teaches us valuable lessons that we can’t learn any other way.

When it comes to training for races, I have learned lessons from every training run.

Dried figs are delicious, however, their tiny seeds are a choking hazard, and having a coughing fit while out running is not easy or fun.

Or discovering you underestimated how long you were going to be out on your long run, and ran out of fuel and water.

Put simply, our failures show us what works and what doesn’t, what we need to improve and what we need to change, what we need to keep doing and what we need to stop doing.

Along the way, we will discover our true selves, know our strengths and weakness, what we prefer and what our passions are. We will also build resilience, courage, and creativity. Without failures, we can never discover our true potential or purpose.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”

Thomas Edison

Every failure is an opportunity to learn something new and useful that can help us achieve our goals.

Builds Resilience

Making mistakes builds resilience, which helps us bounce back from adversity and help to overcome further challenges.

Resilience is a key skill for success in life, as we will inevitably face difficulties and obstacles along the way.

When we make blunders, we are forced to face our fears, cope with our emotions and adapt to new situations. It helps us to develop a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, we believe that we can improve our abilities and overcome obstacles through effort and learning.

A growth mindset enables us to see failure as feedback rather than judgment, as a challenge rather than a threat, and as a motivation rather than discouragement.

Challenges Comfort Zones

Your comfort zone is a safe place. It’s familiar and we feel confident there.

Yet, the magic happens when we step out of that comfort zone. Yes, it’s scary trying new things, taking risks and exploring new possibilities, but you’ll never know what you are capable of until you step out into the unknown.

Stepping out of our comfort zone exposes us to new experiences, perspectives, opportunities and people. We will learn new skills, knowledge and connections that can enrich our lives and careers.

How to Learn from Failure

Now that we know some of the reasons why failure is important for progress, we can use failure to our advantage.

Accept your failure: Don’t deny or hide your failure. Instead, acknowledge and own it.

This also means taking responsibility for your actions and outcomes, and not making excuses or placing the blame on others.

Don’t let failure define your or your worth, instead see it as an event or a result.

Analyze your failure: Reflect on it and learn from it.

Ask yourself questions such as:

*What went wrong?

  • What did I do well?
  • What went wrong?
  • Is there anything that I could do differently next time?
  • How can I apply this lesson to other areas of my life or work?

Adjust your strategy: Rather than repeating your failure, change your approach and try again.

With analysis, we can identify what areas need to improve or change, or stop doing altogether.

Along with SMART goals, feedback and support from valued peers, you can achieve your goals.

Act on your plan: Failing doesn’t mean you give up on your goals, but approach them with renewed enthusiasm and determination.

With a revised plan of action, you will gain confidence. Just be persistent. Monitor your progress and celebrate your wins, no matter how small.

When you encounter another failure, rather than let it discourage you, repeat the process of Acceptance, Analysis, Adjustment & Action.

Failure is not the end, but the beginning of a new opportunity.

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