Failing with grace


It seems like such a dirty word, and just saying it makes you want to take a shower and wash it away from your oh so clean successful self! The word itself is loaded with a feeling of tense rejection and negativity and a sense of dread. But really, have you ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe failure is the key to success?

Now I know what you’re thinking, what is this mentally unstable woman talking about? FAILURE the key to SUCCESS!? What?! That just seems ridiculous!

Only it’s true. Failure brings with it the knowledge of what doesn’t work and allows you to start over again knowing more than you did the first time. You just have to learn from what you have experienced, and not take it personal. Easier said than done right?

See here’s the thing though, when you take it personal and sit in your office and cry and whimper about how you’re suuuuuuch a failure, and you can’t do annnnnything right while you pat the mascara off your tear streaked face while shoving chocolate in your mouth like an old clip of I Love Lucy, you’re not helping yourself at all. In fact, you’re missing the point entirely.

Failure is life’s way of pointing you in a new direction and forcing you to grow and learn. If we didn’t have complete failures, we would never have complete successes. Think of it this way, every failure you reach is taking you one step closer to your goal of achievement.

Seriously, it is! It’s all in how you decide to look at it, yes, decide is the operative word!

You can have a breakdown and rhyme off all the things you’re missing out on because you’re such a loser, or you can sit down and seriously ask yourself “what can I learn from this”. I know you’re saying that’s easier said than done but it’s really not. Or how about this one “I don’t know what I did wrong, I worked sooo hard and I try soooo hard and I don’t know how to make it better, why am I so stupid!? I don’t know anything and I don’t know how my boss/mother/father/boyfriend/husband even wants to be around me, I’m sooooo pathetic”. OK well let’s hope you don’t go that far, but for many women, they do. They take the slightest criticism as a sign of just how unworthy they are, especially from men. If you stopped for just one minute and asked yourself these critical questions, you may very well find the reason why you failed in the first place.

1. Who can I ask for advice on what I failed to see in this attempt?
2. How can I do it again and make it work?
3. Where can I go to get the information I am missing?
4. What can I learn from this?

Women seem to have a bit of a hard time with failure because of a lot of social conditioning to always be perfect. It’s also difficult in a business world full of men, to know how to handle the occasional set back because men and women just think differently, it’s a fact of life. If you ask 10 men what they do when they fail, and then ask 10 women what they do, chances are, it’s going to be worlds apart.

Once you have asked yourself the questions above, look for someone else to get some advice from. No, don’t call up your favorite aunty or your mom who always just wants to make you feel better, call a friend or co-worker you trust and ask for some real honest feedback. This is essential. If you can’t get it from your boss or whomever, ask someone else. If this is something you’re passionate about, then take the time to find a way, don’t accept that this failure is it for your idea. Put on your big girl panties, and get out there and learn from it!

History is full of failures who just refused to quit and went on to become famous.

Thomas Edision’s often quoted statement “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” is exactly the attitude successful people take on. JK Rowlings was a broke single mom living on welfare when she crafted Harry Potter and his mystical charms and Stephen King had the book Carrie rejected 30 times before it was eventually published. We all know about Donald Trump and his massive failures, going bankrupt more than once and simply starting all over again.

The question isn’t IF you’re going to fail, the real question is WHEN are you going to fail and when you do, what are you going to do about? We’ll bring the ice cream if you bring all the right questions.

Bring on the failure!

Have you had a failure that you turned into a success?