Failure gets a bad rap. As a perfectionist, I know the anxiety that is created from the fear of failure. As a career and life coach, it’s also one of the things that I coach many of my clients on. Yes, it’s true failure sucks, especially when we’re stressed and not feeling confident. Life would be so much easier if everything just went as planned all of the time, right? Not really. If we never failed we would never enjoy the feeling of success. If we never failed we would stop learning. My point is, failure doesn’t have to suck, it’s really all in the mindset you have about it. We can look at failure as a sign that we’re losing at life or suck at our jobs, or we can look at failure as a sign of personal growth and living life to the fullest. Here are my 5 benefits of failure:
1. Helps overcome fear & builds resilience. My favorite daily question that I like to ask myself is how did I fail today? By posing this question I give myself permission to be more vulnerable and take greater risks. The more that I take risks, the more comfortable I am being uncomfortable and failing.
2. Teaches us valuable life lessons. Here’s an exercise. Write down your biggest failures in life, then write down the things you learned or gained from it. In all of our failures are beautiful lessons that inspire new insight and perspective on the world. For example, one of my biggest failures up until recently was feeling like I failed at my corporate job because I didn’t get promoted to the next level. In hindsight I’m so happy that I didn’t get promoted. If I did, I would have continued to work and not make a difference in the world which is something that’s very important to me. If I wouldn’t have failed I would have continued to be someone I’m not and I probably would have done a lot more crying about hating my job. So happy to say that the failure pushed my career in a new direction with amazing opportunities and experiences I never would have had.
3. Inspires creativity. Failure keeps us on our toes and helps us practice the lesson “What got you here won’t get you there.” Failure inspires innovation. Thomas Edison’s quote comes to mind, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Had Edison given up, we may not have had a viable option for electricity for a much longer period of time. By giving up after failure, what disservice are you doing to yourself, your career and your happiness?
4. Keeps us humble. “A true leader is one who is humble enough to admit their mistakes”. Failure is a beautiful opportunity to showcase our leadership skills. Humility is the ability to give up your pride and still maintain your dignity. Failure teaches us how to let go of our ego, embracing perfection is a practice that’s all ego. The more that you let go of the fear of failure the more you can connect and learn from the people and environment around you.
5. Builds confidence. It can be common practice to look at our failures with regret, guilt and shame, all feelings that don’t serve us and lower our confidence. Instead of this approach, try looking at your failures as moments of brilliance. Windows to your past to see just how truly strong you are. The more that you see how strong you are and that you can persevere from difficult situations the more your confidence will grow!