There isn’t a person in the world who hasn’t failed at something at one point or another—whether it’s something as small a bad grade on a pop quiz in secondary school or as big as losing a business. Just as there is good and bad in life, there is success and failure.
Dwelling negatively on what has or hasn’t happened in your past isn’t a healthy approach to life—and is likely to leave you in a rut. Instead of being terrified of failing or beating yourself up because of a failure, embrace it and propel yourself forward.
Failure is Not You
The motivational speaker and famous author Zig Ziglar once said, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Allowing yourself to believe the failure is you will leave you stuck in self-deprecation and you’ll likely stay there. Take Ziglar’s profound advice and separate yourself from your endeavors and their results. You may be the idea-creator, the risk-taker or the courage-maker—but you are not the end result.
Own Your Missteps
While failure isn’t you, it’s also important to take stock of what missteps you may have made. This doesn’t mean painfully pulling out all of your errors and thinking about them excessively. Instead, acknowledge decisions made or steps taken that may have contributed to the miss in your aim, and then move on. Don’t make the mistake of blaming a long list of external factors; this only solidifies that you don’t have control over your destiny. You do.
Failure is Just a New Opportunity
We’ve all heard this before: Some of the most successful people in the world have failed and more than once. Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, J.K. Rowling and Steve Jobs are just a few immensely successful people who were fired, cut from the team, on welfare or even removed from the company they started. (Yes, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985.) There is something incredibly powerful in this—instead of seeing failure as an end, use it as a jumping off point for a new beginning. Sift through what happened and pull out the important takeaways you can bring with you on your next adventure.
Back to the Drawing Board
Sometimes a flop can mean it’s time to move on to something else, or sometimes it can mean it’s just time to get back to the drawing board and try it again. Flip your failure into something positive; you’ve already discovered the way not to do it. Now you can check that attempt off your list and try again, but in a different way. Thomas Edison embraced this well, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” It often takes a fresh perspective on the task at hand to bring you to success.