You’ve probably heard the story about Michael Jordan being cut from his freshmen basketball team or the one about how Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before finally inventing the light bulb. The truth is, there are millions of stories like this in everyday life – people that took a perceived “failure” and used that as motivation to reach their own success.
I like to refer to these failures as “perceived failures” because in reality, they were not failures at all – they were the catalyst that ultimately led to success. It could be argued that many successes would not exist at all without failing first.
Here are 6 ways to turn your next failure into a success.
1. Celebrate your failures
This celebration of failure is becoming more and more common in the top workplaces of today (think innovative tech companies). They encourage their employees to openly share their failures and some actually reward them for taking the risk in the first place. If you don’t reward yourself for failing, you won’t allow yourself to get outside your comfort zone – where the real growth happens.
2. Identify failure as a stepping stone
The common belief is that failure should be avoided at all costs, this is dangerous. Instead of always trying to avoid it, reframe your mindset to make failure your direct path to ultimately reaching your success. You have to tell yourself that failure and success are not opposites, but are two points on the way to reaching our goals.
3. Get consistent
There is a good chance that if you are doing something new or challenging you’re going to fail at first. Think about the first time you tried to ride a bike or ice skate…most certainly you failed time and time again before eventually succeeding at it. We can learn a lot by applying that same child-like consistency to our goals. Yes, you will fail, but the more and more you practice and persist on, the more success you’ll achieve.
4. Team up
Find a friend, family member, co-worker, etc. that may be interested in reaching the same goal as you. Having a partner who is going through the same failures as you will help bring both of you to success. If you can’t find someone who wants to achieve with you, instead look for a coach / mentor that can help you get there.
5. Focus on the present
I know it’s easy to just sit and think about how you’ve continued to fail and all of the things you did wrong. It’s ok to analyze your failures, but only as a way to learn from them – do not hang on to your failures as a way to become negative about what you are doing. The past is a great tool to learn from, but is the antithesis to living in the present moment (where the success actually happens).
6. Develop a “growth mindset”
Opposed to living with a fixed mindset, where you can’t learn and grow from your mistakes, growth mindset “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck (Check out her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”). Living life with a growth mindset is a competitive advantage compared to most people that think people just “get lucky” or are “born with certain talents”.