Reframing Failure – A 3 Step Process
It’s inevitable; at some point in your life you will fail. The hardest part about failure isn’t realizing you didn’t accomplish your desired goal, it’s overcoming that failure and using it as a springboard to launch you in the direction of achieving success.
The next time you’re face to face with failure, use this three-step process to objectively overcome it and be more successful in every facet of life.
Step One: Accepting Failure
You’re going to continue to fail and you’re going to want to hide it from the world. It doesn’t matter what you fail at, but as long as you’re trying to do something, getting it wrong the first time is much more likely than getting it right flawlessly.
Here’s a radical way of thinking: Don’t hide the fact that you failed – accept it. Be proud of your failure because it means you stepped out of your comfort zone, you challenged yourself mentally and physically, and took a risk when so many others didn’t.
So what if you failed? – We all failed at one point or another. Even the smartest businessmen declare bankruptcy, even a genius can forget to lock the doors to their apartment, and even a mathematician can misinterpret a symbol in a formula.
What separates you is that you’re humble enough to accept defeat and admit that you have failed. Cowards make excuses for their losses, but champions humbly embrace it. Are you a coward or a champion?
Step Two: Learning from Your Mistakes
UFC fighter Conor McGregor’s head coach, John Kavanaugh, wrote an excellent book titled Win or Learn.
If the title doesn’t already give it a way, Coach Kavanaugh doesn’t dedicate chapters to boasting about his seemingly endless accomplishments as a mixed martial artist and coach. Instead, he chose to highlight the areas in his life where he’s learned the most and the experiences that helped build his very successful career – his failures and what he has learned from them.
The best thing about failure is that we can learn from it, rather we should. This is why coaches in nearly every sport watch film following a recent performance. It gives them a chance to objectively reflect on the game, match, or competition and isolate the errors and most importantly, decipher why those errors occurred and strategize on how to avoid them in the future.
We can always take something positive away from each failure and learn from our mistakes to make the next attempt (and the succeeding ones) successful.
Step Three: Re-Engage or Establish New Goals
You’ve accepted failure and learned why you failed. You now need to decide if you’re going to saddle up and accept that same challenge or if your priorities have shifted and you now want to set new goals.
Neither path is better than the other. They’re different, but both require you to take step one and step two very seriously so you can look back on your initial failure and view it as an obstacle you successfully overcame on your road to achieving your dreams.
Did you fail in achieving a certain objective? Yes.
Did you restructure that failure to be used as a valuable lesson learned moving forward to achieve success? Also, yes.
Maybe you wanted to run a marathon, but after training and attempting a half-marathon you’ve decided that running distances just isn’t that high on your agenda anymore and you’d rather pursue a heavier 1RM back squat.
You’re not a failure, you’re dedicated individual who decided to shift the goals towards something that made you happier and aligned better with your priorities.
Failure is only truly failure if you choose to accept it on face value instead of learning from your shortcomings and using it to catapult you towards achieving an even greater success.
Behind every champion is a long list of failures they overcame to reach their dreams. As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
Every failure is another step closer to success. If you truly want to achieve your dreams then you have to be willing to take risks, admit defeat, learn from your mistakes, and hop back in the saddle as you ride towards success.