Fear? Not if You Use Failure The Right Way!

View failure differently

Don’t Fear – Learn why you should look forward to it and how it can help you ultimately get to where you want to go.

Consider the following statement:

“There is no such thing as failure”

What was your first reaction? Bullcrap? Unrealistic? False? Is it true?

What if I told you that only you have the power to decide whether something is a “failure?”

What if I said that there are some highly successful people who believe the word “failure” should be removed from our vocabulary?

Here’s why:

Opposite Day

Let’s channel our inner child and play “Opposite Day.”

The premise of the game is to make a statement and then claim “opposite day” to reverse it. For example, you may call the color blue “red” then take it all back by exclaiming “opposite day!”.

I was shy, so it was also a way that I could talk to my crush without him knowing I had a crush (wink)!

Absolutely genius and so much fun!

So Ready? Let’s play!

What if today, failure really means success?

How could you acknowledge your success; even now as you utter the word “failure”?

Well, you could point out…

That everything you learned during the process of getting to where you are now contributed to your success;

Everything that hadn’t gone according to plan is in itself a positive outcome;

Clearly, the path you took this time around wasn’t the right path and so it has successfully been eliminated and will not be repeated;

You will know to do things differently in the future; and,

The experience has enabled you to grow in some way.

So, when you look at it this way,

Failure is feedback

“Failure” can simply be a great way to get us to press pause during our process and gather information to see whether we need to change direction, try something new, continue our learning, or shift our focus.

Imagine what would happen if we didn’t get that feedback, continuing endlessly down the wrong path, toward the wrong goal, or without ever learning a new approach?

Pretty scary, right?

So, when you think about it, failure can really be seen as positive feedback—essential information that gets us back on the right track!

Because without it, we would surely be lost.

The key then, is to identify failure quickly, and change direction by trying something new or shifting our focus.

Here are some ideas:

Have clear goals and continue to re-evaluate them as you move forward

Identify specific milestones along the way to let you know you’re on the right track. And, don’t forget to celebrate each success!

If something doesn’t appear to be working (or working fast enough), don’t hesitate to try something new.

Seek out opportunities to learn: Ask co-workers, experts, mentors, peers — others who may have traveled down a similar path.

Finally, remember…

“You can restart whenever you choose. As Donnie McClurkin’s song “We Fall Down” goes, “…We fall down, but we get up…”. Failure is not in the falling down; it’s in staying down.

So Get Up!

Make Mistakes | Phenomenal Image

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Nancy Kirk-Gettridge is founder of Phenomenal Image, an executive development firm focused on helping her clients gain confidence and take control of their careers. Confronting workplace challenges and her own limiting beliefs, Nancy is committed to helping her clients see themselves as qualified leaders and risk-takers. Nancy frequently writes about resolving gender bias in the workplace. Key topics include career management, leadership training/development, succession planning and overcoming workplace issues.
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