We all have them – failures – big or small, we have all experienced them. Some were life changing and you consider them huge failures in your life, maybe you’re even embarrassed by them and don’t like to talk about it.
Other failures were less significant, but you still consider it a defeat.
What if we changed that internal dialogue about these missteps and looked at them as lessons?
Think about the situation and ask yourself, “What did I learn?” There’s a lesson in everything we do. Sometimes we miss the lesson and don’t want to think about it, so we move past it. If this is considered a failure in your life, why not look at it differently and see if you can learn from it?
I’ve been married three times. I always like to see people’s reaction when I make that statement. (Especially a man who I might potentially date) It’s priceless.
This is how I explain it. I can look at my marriages as failures or I can say those three men taught me a lot about myself and I’m grateful for the experience I had with them. I’m thankful for the lessons, because there were plenty.
Here are my five ways to move past failures and how to look at them as lessons.
1. We don’t like to fail. It’s a hard pill to swallow when we fail at something. We want to be successful and a failure means defeat, something went wrong. No one wants to come home and say they lost their job, or were fired. It’s not a time to break out the champagne; it feels horrible.
2. The other side of the failure coin is success. The definition of failure is ‘lack of success.’ Success is literally on the other side of the coin. Success is that close, even though it may feel a million miles away. You just have to realize it’s attainable after a failure.
3. How failures can be turned into lessons. Can you step back from the failure and think, “What did I learn from this?” Not, “My boss is a jerk.” Really look at the situation objectively and see if there were signs you missed that something was going to happen; were you part of the problem?
4. Take responsibility for your own part in the situation. We always want to blame other people and put the blame on someone else when things fall apart. But what responsibility do you have in the situation that failed? How were you showing up? How was your attitude?
5. Sometimes things are just meant to fail. I’ve heard it countless times, “If such-and-such didn’t fail, I never would be in this great place I’m at now in my life.” Those failures led to great things.
Take the time and think about those defeats in your life and find the lessons. They are there, I promise. What can you take from the situation and learn from it. How can you make sure going forward that you don’t repeat the same mistake again and end up with another repeated failure? Self-examination is difficult but if we are all going to grow and learn, it’s necessary.