Failure: The Stepping-Stone to Success

Failure: The Stepping-Stone to Success

Whether we’re talking about business, athletics, parenting, or relationships, even the most successful people don’t get everything right. Failure is a given on the path to success, but how we deal with failure can significantly impact the level of what we achieve in any endeavor. Although failure can be a painful experience for anyone, for some people it can be a major roadblock, or even the end of the road. Our mindset determines how we handle failure. Many of us learned, early on, to avoid failure at all costs, but this can actually result in missed opportunities.

The truth is that if you’re growing, stretching, and expanding, you will experience failure. Failure means you’re in the game. In order to find the success you desire, you must be willing to fall flat on your face. Failure is a part of testing the limits of what you know, and it’s an opportunity to learn how to take that next step forward. Failure is simply feedback informing us that there is a different or better way.

By better understanding failure, you can change your perspective and use failure as a stepping-stone to success instead of a stumbling block. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Have your pity party and then move on. Don’t minimize or catastrophize. Minimizing the event might mean that you’ll miss the opportunity to learn from it, and catastrophizing it can make taking the next step seem harder, if not impossible.
  2. Know that failure does not define you. Viewed properly, it is a sign of courage and progress. Remind yourself that it means you actually tried something! Failure is the result of an action taken (“it failed”), not an identity (“I am a failure”).
  3. Recognize that there are no true failures. What at first feels like a failure is simply feedback that can take you to another level of awareness. We must ask, “What did I learn?” These lessons may not be immediately apparent. Seeing the failure as a stop sign or stumbling block may actually inhibit the flow of ideas and opportunities that allow it to be part of a successful outcome.
  4. Know when to quit. There may be many failures along the way, so how do you know when it’s time to throw in the towel versus when it’s time to persevere? Discernment is the key. It’s time to listen to your desires and your discontents. Weighing the pros and cons is too logical (and no truly great accomplishment was logical). You are never too far down the road to turn back. But if the outcome makes you come alive, persist! Don’t give up out of fear, disappointment, anger, upset, or anxiety.
  5. Stack your wins! This gives you the opportunity to focus on positive results in your journey to success. You can either make a list of 50, 100, or 500 things that you have accomplished along the way, or stack your wins daily. At the end of each day, write down what you accomplished. Our tendency is to focus on the failures, the should-haves, and the could-haves. Stacking our wins shifts the scales in our favor over time. It helps us create a new pattern of beliefs and minimize the negative impact from failures.

Tom Watson, the founder of IBM, tells us, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” If this makes you want to run in the other direction, understand that your mindset is only a belief, and beliefs can absolutely be changed.

Are you tired of fear of failure standing in the way of the success you desire? Let’s talk about how you can shift your mindset and turn failure into a stepping-stone to success: To set up your complimentary strategy session, click here.

Tracy Williams is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.