Failing is Normal So Don’t Fear It, Learn From It

Failure is often viewed as a negative setback that can demotivate and discourage us from pursuing our goals. However, failing is normal. If we embrace it, it can also be an opportunity for growth.

The most successful people in the world have experienced failure at some point in their lives. Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected by publishes thirty times. Oprah was fired from her first job as a TV news anchor. Walt Disney was also fired from a newspaper for lacking creativity. What sets them apart is that they learned from their mistakes and turned those setbacks into success.

Learning from your failures and applying those hard-won lessons can do the same for you. So, instead of fearing failure, learn from it.

The Importance of Embracing Failure

Embracing failure doesn’t mean we should try to fail or celebrate it when it happens. Instead, it means that failure shouldn’t always be a negative experience we try to avoid at all costs. We should view it as a natural part of the learning process and reflect on what went wrong and how we can improve moving forward.

Failure Builds Resilience

When we experience failure, it can be easy to feel discouraged and give up. However, if we learn to view it as a temporary setback rather than a permanent defeat, we can develop the resilience we need to bounce back and continue pursuing our goals.

Failure Sparks Creativity

When things don’t go as planned, we are forced to think outside the box and come up with new solutions. It can lead to breakthroughs and advancements we may not have otherwise discovered.

Failure Helps Us Grow

Instead of viewing our abilities and intelligence as fixed traits, a growth mindset allows us to see them as something we can develop through dedication, hard work, and learning. It takes time, but as we grow, we view challenges and setbacks differently, perhaps even positively.

Learning From Failure

You don’t want to repeat the same process and fail again. A plan helps you reflect, analyze, and make necessary changes to learn from failure.

Accept Responsibility

When you fail, it can be tempting to blame external factors or other people. However, accepting responsibility for your actions and decisions is crucial to avoid making the same mistakes.

Remove Barriers

That said, sometimes, your failure is caused by someone or something else. A horrible boss might set you up to fail, or your business partner might steal all your money, causing you to lose your business. It won’t always be easy, but removing these barriers and toxic relationships from your life will help you get back on track.

Analyze What Went Wrong

Take the time to analyze what went wrong and identify the root cause of your failure. What can you learn from the experience? How can you improve going forward? What should you have done differently?

Seek Feedback

Seek feedback from others you trust. Doing so can help you gain an objective perspective on what went wrong and how to improve. Ask them what you need to change to make it work, and consider following their advice.

Make a Plan For Improvement

Based on your analysis and feedback, create an improvement plan. This plan should include specific actions you will take to avoid similar failures, such as learning new skills or dedicating more time to your objective.

Implement Your Plan

Once you have a plan, do it. Depending on your situation, it may involve making serious changes to your behaviors or habits or seeking additional help from your peers or mentors. Or it could simply mean setting your alarm clock and using this extra time to work on it.

Challenge Yourself

Instead of avoiding challenges, consider them valuable ways to grow personally and professionally. Challenge yourself to try new things and take on tasks that may be outside of your comfort zone.

Be Kind to Yourself

When you experience setbacks, treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Beating yourself up accomplishes nothing, so be compassionate. Think about what you would say to support a friend if they were in your situation, and say that to yourself.

Celebrate Small Wins Along the Way

We often get so focused on the long-term objectives that we overlook the small steps we take. Instead of solely focusing on outcomes and results, shift your attention to the effort you put in and your progress. Here are some ideas to recognize and celebrate small wins:

  • Keep a progress journal: Write down your daily accomplishments and progress toward your goals. It can be hard to remember just how far we’ve come.
  • Reward yourself: When you reach a milestone, treat yourself to something you enjoy. It can be as simple as buying your favorite dessert, watching a movie, or taking a day off.
  • Share your progress with others: Tell your family, friends, or colleagues about your achievements, or post them on social media. Sharing your progress with others can help you stay accountable, and it feels good to brag a little.
  • Create a vision board: Visualize your goals and track your progress with a vision board. Include images, quotes, and milestones to help you stay inspired.
  • Celebrate with others: Plan a celebration with friends, family, or colleagues to share your success and enjoy the moment together.
  • Reflect on your journey: Reflecting on your achievements can be incredibly motivating, especailly when feeling down. Recognize the obstacles you have overcome and the lessons you have learned.

Get Support

Experiencing failure isn’t easy, especially if it’s a significant one. Breaking up or getting a divorce, losing your job, failing a class, or getting into legal trouble can all substantially change your life. You don’t have to face these obstacles alone, nor should you.

It can be tempting to withdraw from everyone; however, this can be counterproductive and hinder your ability to learn from the experience. You can’t do everything alone. There is strength in asking for help when dealing with a failure. Don’t be afraid to get the support you need.

The Value of a Strong Network

Part of building a strong support network is cultivating relationships with people with similar values and goals. This could include friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors. A support system of people who understand and believe in your potential can encourage and motivate you to keep moving forward.

Another strategy is to seek out resources and communities that specialize in helping individuals learn from failure. This could include attending workshops or conferences, joining support groups or online communities, or hiring a coach or therapist. These resources can provide valuable insights and tools for navigating the challenges of failure, and many are free or low-cost.

Failure is Not the End

Failure can be a valuable learning experience if we choose to embrace it rather than fear it. By adopting a growth mindset and committing to learning from our setbacks, we can use failure as a gateway to success. Strategies such as reflection, seeking support, and celebrating progress can all help us move forward and learn from our mistakes.

Failure is not the end result; it’s a necessary part of life. So, the next time you encounter failure, take a moment to think about what happened and what you learned, and then use that knowledge towards your success.

Failure is normal. It’s what you do after it that counts.

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Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN,, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

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