You did not fail. Because failure isn’t final and it won’t kill you.
No one starts something expecting to fail. But it happens.
It’s life’s feedback system. Failure tells you if something is off or not working. And it lets you know you need to change your formula if you want to move forward.
And unless you’re from another world, it’s inevitable. We all fail at something throughout life. I sure have.
But life goes on. And you can and must turn your failure(s) into success and prosper regardless of your past. You must fail until you LEARN how to win.
So here’s a 5-step guide you can use to do just that:
Step #1. Acknowledge and Accept It
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
– Thomas Edison
Ok, so you’ve “failed”…
Failed at your relationship, career, finances, business, or in another area of life.
Well… it’s happened. Now you have to own it!
And you can start by acknowledging and taking responsibility for your failure(s). No one else is going to do this. And deflecting, blaming, and running from your failure won’t help.
So don’t run, embrace it!
I sure have. I have “failed” countless times already throughout my life:
- In high school, I failed my A.P. exams
- I’ve gotten F’s in subjects like pre-calculus and physics
- I was never accepted into the school of nursing while at UConn
- I wasn’t a distinguished graduate in the military
- Never got a 4.0 GPA in college or graduate school
- I’ve failed at 3 long term relationships
- Launching businesses
- And I’ve been fired
But I have accepted my failures. And I have never quit.
So cry, vent, let it out, do whatever you must. But accept the fact that you’ve failed.
Because acceptance makes moving on so much easier. Even if everything wasn’t your fault or people let you down. That’s a part of life.
Setbacks, letdowns, and heartbreak happen.
People, events, and life will let you down at some point.
Things are never going to go as planned. And they’ll most likely take longer than you think. You can have the greatest intentions, plans, and resources but… failure happens. Hold yourself accountable.
Step up, own it, learn and try again.
Step #2. Learn From It
“Success is a learnable skill. You can learn to succeed at anything.”
– T. Harv Eker
Ok now that you’ve acknowledged and accepted your failure, it’s time to learn from it.
You need to figure out what went wrong.
And you can do this by asking yourself some questions:
- What happened?
- Ask yourself what did I overlook?
- What could I have done better?
- What changes can I make going forward?
Doing this and asking yourself more questions will help you analyze why you failed.
Your failure(s) contain lessons.
Knowledge and experiences you can learn from every time something doesn’t go your way.
Lessons that will prevent you from failing the same way again next time. Lessons you need to learn.
Because if you don’t learn, you’re setting yourself up to fail again. And in time you might fail the same way you failed before.
Until you’ve learned your lesson.
Lessons from your past that you can use to grow and move on.
So… learn from failure.
Figure out what systems you can put in place that will prevent you from repeating past mistakes.
Step #3. Rest and Change Your Story
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
Everyone deserves a break.
You shouldn’t move on right away after failing. Take some time.
Rest, heal, work on yourself, your mindset, and make sure you’re ready to take on whatever’s next.
Self-care is important. If you move on without giving yourself enough time to learn and reflect you risk failing whatever you start next.
So don’t rush. Take some a moment to recover for what’s next.
And when you’re recharged, it’s time to change your story!
Redefine what failure means to you.
Because you’re not a failure. Tell yourself something different.
Tell yourself you just haven’t found a way or something that works for you yet.
Work on your mindset, it’s important. Thoughts become things, you become what you believe.
So find something positive to work towards. Something that drives you.
Failure’s just a small part of your story on your road to success. Those who are successful have failed. But you hardly hear about their failures.
They don’t matter as much as the victories they’ve achieved. In fact, failure was needed to become who they are.
And it’s why I don’t fear failure.
I’ve failed many times before. But I never stopped trying. Instead, I started telling myself a different story.
So change your story.
Tell yourself “each failure is bringing me one step closer to achieving my goal.”
Your success in life is far more dependent on the present than your past. It’s not based upon where you grew up, or how easy or hard of a journey you’ve had so far.
You have nothing to fear with failure. You’ve already failed. To evolve, change your story.
Step #4. Move On
“I have failed over and over again and that is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan
When you fail you can’t let it hold you back. The past is the past.
You must move on.
People fail all the time including winners. But they don’t focus on their failures as much as what they’re trying to do.
They’ve failed 10x more than they have succeeded. But you’ve only seen their wins and not all of their losses. They fail and move on. They fall, dust themselves off, and get back up.
And it’s time for you to do the same.
You live, you learn, you love. And when you fail move on! You have no other choice.
Life doesn’t stop. And you don’t want to be in the same place as you are right now next year. So get over it, don’t rewind, press play.
You must move forward with your life in order for your dreams to come true.
And the easiest way I’ve found to do this so far is FOCUS.
Every day I wake up, I choose what I focus on. I choose growth and gratitude over failure and ungratefulness.
So do the same when you’re down, shift your focus. Don’t focus on your past failures and mistakes. Leave them in your rearview.
Think positive and find motivation in failure.
Choose your future over your past. And always choose positivity and action.
Choose what’s in front of you. Control what you can and disregard what you can’t.
There are no failures only outcomes.
Yes, you failed. You didn’t get the outcome you were looking for. But you have the ability to create a new and different outcome.
Don’t be afraid of trying again because the only safe thing you can do is try, try, try and try again.
My friend, you can fail over and over again and still be successful.
Step #5. Modeling
“Your greatest failures or letdowns provide your most valuable lessons.” – Tony Robbins
Success leaves clues.
It can take years to accomplish a dream. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can reduce the time it takes.
You can turn your failure into success faster by modeling and learning from others, and those who have done what you’re trying to do.
Find and study their life, behavior, failures, and success.
What did they do?
And what made them successful?
Modeling is something I learned myself by listening to Tony Robbins. I was doing this before I heard him describe it as modeling.
And it works. So give it a try.
You too can achieve success by studying those who have come before you and their paths to success.
Successful people have gotten where they are by following a plan and vision.
And if you study, make a plan, are consistent, and persistent then you too can succeed.
Keep asking yourself how can I bring value to this world? And how can I work with those I admire?
Sure, you might not become the “greatest”. But you can be successful.
“And One More Thing…”
What success means to each of us is not a universal concept. It looks different for everyone.
The fear that comes with failure is powerful.
No one wants to be a failure. You don’t want your friends and family to know you’re a failure.
But everyone fails. And true failure only happens when you stop trying. So don’t!
Have the will and confidence to try again when you fail. You are not perfect. And there is no perfect plan, strategy, or piece of information I can tell you that will prevent you from failing.
Failure does not mean you should give up.
Failure’s going to happen. In fact, you need failure.
Failure’s the best feedback you can get. It lets you know what’s working and what’s not. And it’s what creates excitement when you finally do succeed. Because nothing worth having or accomplishing in life has nor ever will come easy. If it came easy, it wouldn’t mean as much to you.
And it’s why you need to know this – Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a part of success.
Thanks for reading!