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How To Get A New Perspective On Failure.

What happens to us when the fear of failure stops us from learning new things or seizing opportunities that we have secretly longed for?

Well, we can feel stuck, stagnant and maybe even a bit resentful as we watch others continue to move forward in their lives with what looks like ease and grace.

Often, this lack of action creates a feeling of frustration, which we turn outwards, blaming significant others, such as parents, partners, co-workers or even friends.  Alternatively, we direct the anger inwards, and we blame ourselves for being less than courageous in dealing with our fear.

But when we take a good look at real examples of our so-called ‘failures’, we can get a different perspective on what seems to be holding us back.

Getting clear on failure.

Try this exercise to get some clarity?   Take a piece of paper and write down your answers to the following questions.

  • Experiences from the past

    Bring to mind at least 3 experiences where you felt like you failed at something. (Your driving test, relationship break up, living up to someone’s else standards?)

  • Which has the strongest feeling for you?

    Choose the one that you have an emotional reaction to, such as that gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach.

  • Inner voice 

    What did that inner voice of criticism say to you at the time? Write it down and don’t censor it.

Let’s have a look at the outcomes from the failure.

List all the bad things that happened as a result of the failure.

Work with the actual facts, such as

“I invested time and resources in rewriting my resume and didn’t get the job I applied for” as opposed to what you think others thought, “My work colleagues and referees think that I am incompetent”.

List all the good things that came from the failure.

This could include anything from new skills learnt, new opportunities or alternate possibilities that resulted, such as

“My resume is easier to read, up to date and clearly shows my skills”

“Revising my work history, has given me more confidence in my abilities”

“My resume is ready, and up to date for the next position I want to apply for”.

 A new position on failure.

Look back at what you wrote here and take the time to think about this, what is your new perspective on your failure?

What does it mean to fail?

We often believe something failed because it didn’t go as we had wanted, but maybe the point here was to move us in a completely different direction or armour us with necessary skills for what we might encounter in the future.

Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from moving forward and enjoying your life.

Image: Alexa Suter: Unsplash

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