What? Embrace failure? That’s like embracing an angry grizzly bear, right? It may seem like it, but that’s only because we perceive failure as powerful, overwhelming and just plain frightening. But what if we re-frame failure completely? What if we decide that failure is just what we need in order to move forward?
Here are a few steps to remind yourself that failure is not your enemy but part of an intricate process of learning and growing:
Don’t personalize. (This is number one for a reason. We tend to think that when we fail, it means that we’re failures. And nothing could be further from the truth. Failures don’t define you. You are not your failure. As a matter of fact, the more you go after your professional goals in life, the more you can be sure that you’ll have a list of failures under you belt. Failing is part of the process.
Don’t dwell on your failure. Another critical mistake I commonly see with my clients is rumination. They’re constantly looking backward and wondering what they could have done to avoid a particular failure. Learn from your failure and move on. Those old, dusty visions of what you did wrong do nothing to prepare you for a bright, shiny future.
Don’t worry about the “other.” Another common trap is the need for approval from others. Guess what? You could be waiting a long time. It’s imperative to detach from the viewpoints of others and proceed anyway. Sure, feedback is helpful but then you need to ask yourself: does that feedback serve me on my path? If it doesn’t, then let it fall by the wayside…and keep going.
Listen, no one likes to fail. But it is going to be part of the process on your journey. So learn to make friends with the grizzly bear. Sure she may be dangerous and imposing at times, but she’s also powerful, mighty and gets the job done.