Like most, I was once afraid to fail. Of course, this is totally understandable because most people want to win and failing is absolutely terrifying. And while winning is important, at what cost do we chase that score? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the rush and I want to be on top, but, always aiming for perfection can get exhausting.
Last year, after listening to a podcast by Amy Porterfield, I decided it was time to reframe my thinking around failure. I realized that failing simply means that there is more for you to learn and practice.
This year I’m learning to embrace failure. Here are my top three reasons why you should too.
1) If You’re Not Failing, Then You Aren’t Trying Enough
My goal is to fail at least 10 times per quarter. Why would I make that a goal you ask? Well, for example, if I want to get additional visibility for my company, I may decide to pitch to the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, etc. Chances are I’ll be rejected, but then again you never know. My email could end up in the right inbox at the right time and the answer could be yes. In fact, this is how I ended up in the New York Times! I pitched an idea to a writer, she said no, then I pitched 4 new ideas to the same writer in my response and she said YES! Therefore, don’t be afraid to go BIG. You may fail, but then again you may not.
You will never know if you only play it safe. Saying "I tried" instead of "what if" goes a long way in moving you forward.
2) Failing Makes You Stronger Emotionally And Mentally, Better Preparing You For That Next Big Opportunity
Once you fail enough times, you naturally learn to be stronger, both emotionally and mentally. No longer does a mishap put you down. The thought of failing doesn’t seem so overwhelming and all of a sudden instead of a train wreck, you see possibility. If you win, you’re elated. If you lose, you can see that it’s part of a lesson, and you move on with more informed decisions. You learn not to take every rejection as a personal attack against you and also to detach emotions from the results. This can be the biggest breakthrough for some people who take everything personally. Sure it’s not easy, but with practice it is most definitely possible.
3) Failure Is A Great Teacher
Most think, if you fail at something, it means you just didn’t prepare. This is definitely not always true. You can prep your heart out and still end up with a couple missteps that no one could have seen coming. So what do you do? Well, there are a couple of great ways to turn this from a disaster to what may even count as, dare I say it, a success.
For starters, you could take a deep breathe, take toll of the situation and really try to analyze what happened. Was it something you could’ve prepared for better? Were there things that maybe weren’t necessary or even that got in the way? Did you come up with a new idea based off of this experience? Using a situation where things seem down to help you bounce back up - and hopefully not end up in the same spot - is a valuable skill to learn.
Another way to get through crushing disappointment is to know that there is something better in store for you. I particularly like this reframing strategy. As an example, a few years ago I put in an offer on a condo and after a couple days of waiting, the offer fell through. I was DEVASTATED. I think I may have actually cried because I wanted that apartment so badly. A year later, I put in an offer on another place and it was accepted. This place was even bigger and nicer than the first one. Had I shifted my thinking sooner, I wouldn’t have had to go through the pain and heartache of feeling rejected and like I failed. Reframing is a great tool that can save you many tears in the long run.
In conclusion, whether it’s in your personal life or professional one, failure doesn’t have to mean the end or even that things have gone badly. Failure can prove to be a positive asset in our lives that not only gives us the momentum to move forward, but the actual experience to help make better decisions in the future.
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