Lack of success.
defeat, foundering, misfiring, coming to nothing.
When was the last time you failed? Can you remember the last time you felt defeated or like your efforts had come to nothing?
I only ask because I was asked to face this reality during a job application this week when I was questioned on the last time I failed. For me, this was tough. I honestly prefer pretending these situations never existed.
Doing this exercise made me think really hard about the importance of embracing failures, not just glossing over them. Failures can often feel like defeats, but that’s only because we let them. In the future, I’ll try and ask myself these questions instead…
Failures can often feel like defeats, but that’s only because we let them.
What didn’t go well?
Sometimes life can work in ways outside of your control. So accepting failure shouldn’t be about blaming yourself. Simply ask yourself if what occurred could have gone better. Feelings of guilt often prevent me from facing my failures. I’m embarrassed and wish I could have been stronger or wiser in the moment. But picking out the action that caused the situation is the first step to preventing it from happening again.
What was the lesson I learned?
This is the second most important question to ask. If we set ourselves goals that we’re not not meeting, perhaps the lesson is that these goals are too unrealistic. Striving for the best can be a good thing if you’re taking lessons away from your failures to apply to your future. Even athletes must take lessons from their losses. Lessons are the fuel that fulfil goals.
What challenged me that I can grow from?
Negative personality traits such as ego and pride often make us deny or gloss over our failures. Honestly, the reason I had such a hard time thinking of an example of a failure earlier was because I didn’t like admitting that it’s possible for me to fail. But knowing your own weaknesses allows you to be in control of them. From there you can decide how to turn them into strengths.
What did I succeed at?
Failure is a mindset; it needs to be turned on when we need to reflect and turned off to progress. It’s clear that the job application wanted to attract the type of people who can highlight their strengths, even in their seeming defeat. Taking something positive away from the situation shows a recognition of progress. You’re awesome, and the mistakes you make shouldn’t define you or keep you down.
Knowing your own weaknesses allows you to be in control of them.
Let’s all spend some time appreciating our successes and reflecting on situations that could have gone better. The fact that you’ve been able to bounce back shows that you’re stronger than you think.
Believing in you, always,