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Let’s flip the script on failure

4 reasons to change the stories you tell yourself
Blog 314 failure

None of us ever start something hoping or planning to fail. But on those occasions when we do fall short of our goals or make gargantuan mistakes, it can dredge up so many negative emotions: shame, embarrassment, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, sadness, guilt… It’s no surprise then that so many people will do anything in their power to avoid failure – even steering clear of anything new or challenging altogether!

But here’s the thing: failure can teach us some of life’s most important lessons. Yes, it’s challenging at the time, but it can truly be a catalyst for big, even life-changing, learning. The key is to rewire your thoughts around failure; to see it as an opportunity, rather than a setback.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you feel like you’ve failed, remember the following four ways it could benefit you in the long run.

  1. Failure is an essential prerequisite to success – We didn’t just make this up; scientists have in fact found that every winner begins as a loser. When faced with failure, you discover that there’s more than one way to do something. Whenever you fail, ask yourself why it happened; this will help you gain clarity on whatever it is that requires improvement, so you can re-evaluate your approach and learn what you could have done differently.
  2. Failure fosters creativity – In order to be creative, you have to be willing to take risks. If you want to discover inspired ideas, accept that you’re going to encounter more than a few that won’t work. Do you think the world’s greatest success stories hit the jackpot on their first attempts? Think again. Thomas Edison put a famously positive spin on his so-called ‘failures’ inventing the lightbulb, saying: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  3. Failure builds resilience – The more you fail, the more resilient you become – and the more resilient you are, the easier it’ll be to bounce back from future fails. Every time you overcome something that’s challenging, you build your resilience a little bit more, making you stronger, better prepared and more confident to deal with adversity whenever it next comes your way.
  4. Failure reminds you that you’re human – When you fall down or make mistakes, it allows you to step into vulnerability – to reach out for help and acknowledge that you might not have all the answers. The more vulnerable you are, the more likely others will be to listen to and trust you. Failure can also give you a new perspective on things and help you to reorder your priorities. Losing a job can help you figure out what you want from your career; moving on from an ex can push you to question what you’re looking for in a partner. And let’s not forget that the occasional mess-up keeps you humble and grounded (something other people will respect you for, too).

Let’s be clear: failure is not something that any of us can avoid altogether – and nor should we! None of us are perfect and we all fail at some point. Whether losing (or not landing) a job, giving up on a task or being part of a broken relationship, failure is inevitable. It’s our ability to see it as a gift, rather than a threat, that determines what impact it will have on our lives.

– The Coach Place Global

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