5 Steps to Seeing Your Failures as Successes

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Failure might not be so scary after all with these handy steps to help keep your focus on goal-setting and growth. 

People fail forward to success

Topic Of Discussion

“If at first you don’t succeed…” 

Chances are good you already know the end of that sentence. But sometimes, when something we might’ve been afraid to try in the first place doesn’t go quite the way we imagined it, fear sets in before we even “…try, try again.”

So what happens if you finally run that marathon and fall short of your best time? Or make it to that final round interview only for another candidate to get the gig?

Try taking some key steps starting before you even make your big move (or before you make your NEXT big move if you weren’t lucky enough to read these steps first!) to prepare yourself, feel successful, and persevere. No matter your results.

1. Identify your experience level and gauge your goals accordingly

Goal setting can be exciting and a great exercise while journaling or talking to members of your support system (think trusted family, friends, counselors, or coaches.) Allow your mind to wander as you’re thinking about your goals, but as you hone in on what you want, assess your experience level. If you’ve never been an administrator, you miiiight not be ready to apply for that manager position just yet. Sure, it never hurts to challenge yourself a little. But by knowing your experience level as you set your goals, you make them that much more achievable!

2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

Say you’ve signed up for the big marathon and you’re meeting all your training goals. Then, one day, out of nowhere…you trip on your shoelace and fall flat on your face. “It happens,” you tell yourself. But your brain gets the better of you:  “It’s one of…so many things that could happen…” Brains love to imagine the worst. So maybe, for just a little bit, let your brain go for it! A list of the things that could happen will remind you that even the worst probably won’t be all that bad! In fact, chances are good you’ve already experienced it…and you got right back up!

3. Fight back against fear as you get closer to your goal

Nerves are normal. When your big day comes, befriend the butterflies in your stomach. If you’ve prepared the way you planned when you set your goals, your fears will be just a minor distraction at this point. Your hard work is already running the show. Go for it. You’re ready!

4. Take time to reflect

So how’d it go? There’s a version where you’re thrilled…and there’s a version where you’re not. Either way, take some time to yourself to reflect. Maybe try thinking about what happened in the same, compassionate tone you’d use supporting a friend. What went well? What could’ve gone better? With reflection, you might find that even the best possible result (while cause for huge celebration!) still leaves room for future goal-setting. And through that lens, “failure” isn’t so bad.

5. Practice pride and begin again

And let’s say the worst really does happen, and you don’t achieve your goals. It’s okay to feel disappointed. But if you’ve taken the steps above…you’re bound to have learned from your experience and grown as a person. So once you’ve given yourself that chance to feel disappointed, try allowing yourself to feel proud. Maybe you can channel that pride right into starting these steps all over again…but with even more experience under your belt!

Wrapping it up

Overcoming fear of failure doesn’t have to happen alone. If you’re struggling or even just looking for support as you set goals, our qualified therapists at Tri-Star Counseling are happy to help.


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