Is there a right way to fail? Yes, yes there is.
Failure sucks. You and I know that. It’s also inevitable. We both know that too. It’s an absolutely wonderful thing that you can actually enjoy as well— but you also knew that right? I hope you did because that means that you are already in on the secret of failure. You know that failure is both beautiful and damned and the secret to unlocking its beauty. If you aren’t privy to the secret, I’ll give it to you here in the introduction: the secret to unlocking failure's beauty is failing the right way. Not specific enough? Well, I have 7 ways to fail for you and there is also one situation in which you should never fail at the end. Let’s get into it.
1. Fail Early
Fail before the buzzer. You want to be the person that has failed at the beginning so that the benefits of failing shine when it’s clutch time. The last thing that you want to do is to fail at the deadline or when someone was depending on you. That type of failure is discouraging and possibly detrimental to your success and should be avoided at all costs.
2. Fail Often
A lot of times, our successes are the product of the many failures that we’ve endured over the course of the process. The process(es) that we go through should not be skipped and the failures along the way are so unique and valuable that you can’t miss them. They are your building blocks. You should strive to fail as many times as needed to get comfortable because failure means that you’re on the right track. No one encounters failure or impediments when they’re traveling in the wrong direction. It’s hard. It’s unpleasant. However, it’s necessary because there is no growth in the comfort zone.
3. Fail Vocally
Fail as loudly as possible and do it without shame.
Failing vocally isn’t a cry for help. It’s a homing beacon for resources and success. Being vulnerable and interdependent is a great asset and you never know what could come out of being open about your failures. The next time you fail, be sure to tell someone you trust as a source of advice and knowledge that you’ve failed. That person can help us get back up and get going again but this time they’ll help send you off with some added wisdom or guidance. Maybe they’ve been there or they’re seeing the problem differently than you. You need them because you’ll go farther together. Two heads are better than one.
“If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African proverb
4. Fail with your eyes open.
Most of the time when you fail, you take a little bit of time to reflect on how you feel or how it affected you. Taking that time to really be retrospective and focus on the growth is paramount. In other words, don’t just get spring back up when you fall and keep it moving. Instead, use this clairvoyant moment in time to look for the silver lining, the door that opened up, the new opportunity on the horizon.
It’s super important to look over the failure when you miss the mark. Failing with your eyes open means that you should analyze what went wrong, plan how it can be done better next time, come to terms with how you were responsible for the failure, identify any tweaks that you can make, etc. This is how you grow.
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. -Napoleon Hill
5. Fail having tried everything.
Fail having explored all avenues possible. If you fail with stones that were left unturned, you did it wrong.
Ask everyone for guidance and perspective, do anything you that think will get you past the hump, and employ all resources in the effort to not incur an unnecessary loss. This goes back to the importance of vulnerability, discomfort, and interdependence. Real winners understand when to ask for help, when to get uncomfortable in pursuit of a win, and how to depend on others for the win also. Failure won’t get out of your way because you’ve tried every idea and used every resource that you’re comfortable with. Failure gets out of your way when you employ the crafty ideas and the resources at the farthest reach of your influence.
6. Fail in the pursuit of something cool.
Fail at something that has immense value to you. Something hard. Something worth the process that you went through.
Don’t fail at the easy stuff. Choose to fail at something that’s hard.
7. Fail with the idea that “the buck doesn’t stop here”
You should understand that this should not and will not be your last failure. There are very few failures that mark a sure end. In fact, this is more than likely a new beginning for you. With each failure, you have the chance to become a little bit better, grow, redirect, or take a breath to look at the bigger picture. There is so much on the other side of failure, but sometimes we get to a place where the failure is “too big” and we can’t see life on the other side. Life is not over. It will continue whether you like it or not, so you might as well keep pushing and be prepared to fail again.
“ This ain’t my first rodeo failing, and it won’t be my last. I’ve got more life to live, so let’s go again.”
Never fail at being yourself.
If you fail at being yourself, then any step you take with the intent of personal development and growth will be in vain. You can fail a thousand times and get back up but it wouldn’t matter as much if you weren’t 100% you to begin with. Never kill off a part of yourself in the effort to succeed either because murder is suicide in the long run. You can’t get up whole if you failed as a partial person. This is the most important part of this article because it’s the one thing that you shouldn’t have to condition yourself to do and therefore instantly employable.
You can be 100% of yourself right now.
And you should.
So, I hope that these 7 ways to fail were helpful. I want you to employ them the next time you miss the mark, come short, overshoot the deadline, or let yourself down. Failure is so important to the human experience because it’s inevitable and there is so much power in doing it the right way. If you didn’t know the secret, now you do. Run with it.
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