Perhaps you’re familiar with the adage that “failure is the key to success.” There are countless stories of people who have been rejected, lost their fortunes, or were told they would not amount to anything, only to overcome the obstacles and find enormous accomplishment in the aftermath. So, if failure is part of the formula for success, why are people so afraid of getting busted?
Society is eager to define what success means for people, and each stage of life seems to be judged by what we do or do not do; have or do not have; and accomplish or do not accomplish. Many people fail along the way, and there seems to be harshness and judgment of those individuals in that moment. No wonder people are afraid to fall short; we live in an era that places high value on competition and winning. Everyone becomes so obsessed with succeeding that they often miss seeing the gift that failure has to offer.
What is the solution? Fail. Fail fast, fail hard, and then tap into a deeper desire to excel and begin again. Henry Ford realized this when he said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more wisely.”
There is a richness and wisdom to someone who has failed and come back with inner strength, disciplined determination, gentle compassion, and the knowledge that she can survive adversity.
Allow disappointment to bring you back to your true essence by stripping away any inauthentic expectations. You’ll rediscover your solid values and go forward with what really matters most to you. When my marriage failed over a decade ago, it became an opportunity for me to redefine who I am and then create a career based on what really mattered to me, which was empowering others to be their true selves. It’s probably not something I would have done without failing in the life I had created and then getting honest about what I really wanted to do. I had to overcome the fear of not being able to support myself emotionally, spiritually, and financially in order to move forward anyway.
So I ask you, have you gotten busted lately? Has the possibility of failure entered your world and you are afraid of what will happen next? Are you shy about making a mistake, one so big that you might not survive the consequences or perhaps know what to do next? Use this opportunity to discover something bigger and better about yourself. Oprah Winfrey said, “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping-stone to greatness.”
I urge you to face any fear. Embrace failing often so that you can wildly exceed your own expectations and receive the full benefits of living a complete life with meaning, purpose, pleasure, and greatness.
Here are my top 14 tips for embracing failure:
- Accept that failure is part of the process.
- If you made a mistake, apologize for what you did, not for who you are.
- Look at what you did right. There are always positives.
- Refute any shame or guilt.
- Don’t play the blame game — don’t run or hide from your mistakes, but rather clean up what is necessary.
- Choose to stay upbeat and don’t spread negativity.
- Model failing gracefully and notice your positive personal impact.
- Resist shutting others out by being vulnerable and human.
- Be flexible and open to change.
- Be proactive around solutions, as opposed to being reactive to what’s happening.
- Create something new and wonderful from the learning, rather than staying stuck in pity.
- Don’t continue the insanity by doing the same thing repeatedly.
- Ask for help. It is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness and fear.
- Recover and begin again.
Welcome the opportunity to get busted and use it to continue to transform into the real you. Consider what led up to the situation and what you are learning about yourself as you move through the disappointment. What is it to transcend your sense of failure?
In her Harvard commencement speech in 2008, the Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling stated, “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.”
If you need more tips on staying true to yourself while things seem to be falling apart, you can now download my free e-book, Be Who You Are: Six Ways to Excavate Yourself by going to Excavive and signing up.
Jennifer Blair is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.