Every time you fail, there’s a story to tell, and people love to hear how someone fell on their face. Just take a look at our news. But do you end your story with your failure, or do you also include the lesson?
Failure is only a tragedy when you try and cover it up or refuse to learn from it. Here are some ideas on how you can have more thoughtful failures.
Become curious – Ask the question, “What went wrong?” Focus on your thought processes, decisions, actions, and communication. There’s no need to blame or shame yourself or others. Stick with curiosity.
Look for the lessons – In any failure I’ve ever had (& trust me, I’ve had a lot), lived my greatest lessons. Reflecting on specific areas allows you to gain even more hard-earned wisdom.
See what your failure might tell you about your:
- Goals and desires – were you aiming for the right thing?
- Assumptions – what did you assume without fact-checking?
- Insights – What was your indicator that things were going south?
- Skills – Is there something you need to learn how to do better?
Imagine the future – If you were ever to be in this position again, what would you do differently? This one act of self-reflection has been my biggest needle mover over the years.
Share your failures – We learn what we teach. So ask yourself who needs to hear this story so they don’t repeat my mistake?
When my mom got scammed out of thousands of dollars, my suggestion was not to hide in shame but to tell her story to as many friends as possible.
When she started telling people, she was shocked to learn how many of her friends had been scammed too. Telling the lessons from your failures is a gift to others.
There’s no doubt failure is painful. It can bring up all sorts of feelings of unworthiness, shame, guilt.
But you can stop yourself from creating even more pain by becoming thoughtful and providing yourself a massive dose of self-compassion.
I hope you don’t need to hear this today, but if you do, I’ve got your back.