Recently, whilst updating some of my welcome emails for new subscribers I ended up touching on the subject of failure and more specifically, the benefits of failure. Personally I believe that success is built on the foundations of failure and whilst we’re all happy and willing to share our success stories to inspire others, many of us fail to show the less successful moments despite these moments being massive learning curves for us.
We all see failure as a negative in life and we fear it, then in turn the fear begins to hold us back. In order to move forward, to be successful we need to learn to appreciate the benefits of failure.
Failure teaches us lessons that success cannot.
Failure is such an efficient teacher, although the lessons can often be hard to bear at the time. It is important in all aspects of our lives to learn what not to do, as well as learning what to do. If we can channel the positive energy of failure by righting ourselves, learning from our mistakes and most importantly move on, we can take the lessons we learn from failure and turn failure into success in the future.
When it comes to moving on, failure has a funny way of motivating us. Failing to impress your boss tends to ignite a spark you to prove them wrong, failing to beat a PB in a race makes you want to take it on again – failure keeps us hungry to succeed and humble about our successes.
We all know stories of how fortunes can be lost (hello, Wolf of Wall Street), but how much more driven have these figures come out the other side of their adversities? How much more intentional & driven have they become as a result?
One of the biggest benefits of failure for me is that allows you to overcome the fear of the unknown.
As I eluded to at the start of this post, the negative connotations we attach to failure leads us to feel fearful.
But what is it that we’re most afraid of when we don’t take full advantage of those exciting emails? Or when we stay stuck in a job we hate, for year after year?
Yes it could be argued that it’s the fear of failure itself; what if we’re not good enough, what if I get rejected … blah, blah, blah. Stop. Failure actually allows you know the consequences of our actions (or lack of them) and being rejected helps us to be hungry.
There are no unknowns, just unseen’s – having the foresight to look ahead at the potential outcomes, for the fear to become a known enemy, can help you move on with the confidence that a stumble or fall won’t be the end of your story in future.
And then there’s the fact that failure recommits us to our goals.
Setbacks can be clarifying and the clarity of seeing where we went wrong, where we were lacking, can allow us to recommit to our goals with a renewed sense of purpose.
Years ago I reached out and pitched to a brand and they simply replied saying that they only worked with bloggers who had a ‘strong’ social following and who they felt it would be ‘worthwhile’ investing their time in.
Yes I was rejected, yes I was unsuccessful in my attempt to work with the brand in question, BUT this instantly recommitted me to my goal of creating a well-being community and made me more determined ‘show them’.
It made me more hungry for success.
Finally, when we fail, we can really see who our people really are and strengthen our ties with our support system.
Take a look at your Facebook profile, how many ‘friends’ do you have? I supposedly have 223 – and when I recently fell whilst out running, less than 30 of them offered assistance, a sympathetic ear or words of motivation.
Social media can make us feel alone, but failure allows us to see that we are not, that we have people in our lives that care, that want to help and see us succeed with our goals.
Failure makes us more prepared for the future, it teaches us how to weather the storm and how to bounce back from a setback. It helps us to anticipate and avoid pitfalls, stay focused, and respond to challenges with hunger and enthusiasm.
What are your thoughts on failure? Do you fear it or welcome it?