No one likes to fail (or at least most of us don’t). And yet, failure is an important part of life, learning and work, and the more we can accept and even embrace failure, the more we can succeed.
Coach Lucy Barkas explains exactly why learning to fail is so important, and how it can actually lead the way to future success.
How to fail your way to success
What stops most of us playing big, fulfilling our potential and living our dreams is our fear of failure. It’s a theme that I greet in every coaching session with every client I have ever worked with. It’s a familiar friend to all of us and we carry this friend with us everywhere we may go.
But the way I see it is that failure is good for us, and fear is the enemy.
Remember learning to ride a bike? Before you got on it you were probably a little nervous, maybe excited, and you may have needed a little encouragement. That’s the fear kicking in. It’s part of who we are as human beings, and fear is there to protect us.
That said, imagine if we had listened to that fear and just stayed looking at that shiny, new bike? Well it would probably still be a shiny new bike, never ridden. And you’d have missed plenty of adventures, the freedom to explore, and confidence that comes with mastering a new skill.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
So hopefully you swallowed your fear, got on and took your first push. And yes, maybe for a second you felt great. But that was probably just before you had your first crash, after which you possibly cried, picked up a graze or two and definitely bruised your ego. How you dealt with this failure will probably be the way you deal with failure now.
Did you storm off in a temper, cross with yourself and maybe slightly embarrassed? Did you get straight back on, determined to master this machine? Did you give up? Or did you sit back, listen to the advice of your parents, reflect, and then have another go?
Your attitude to failure then and now may be propelling you forward to achieve things you never thought were possible, or it might be holding you back, stuck in the safety and familiarity of the present.
Don’t be afraid to fail
So if when you next ‘crash to the ground’ when trying something new you feel tempted to simply give up, remind yourself that you’ll never get anywhere that way. Instead, ask others for advice, examine what went wrong and climb back on the metaphorical saddle and have another go. Even if it takes you several attempts to succeed, it will be worth it.
You see, being unafraid to take risks and embrace something new is essential in our modern world. Life today is moving faster than ever, and keeping your skills fresh, developing yourself and remaining updated with technological advancements are all critical if you want to stay in the game, let alone succeed in it.
Each failure takes you closer to success
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but each failure takes you closer to the success you desire, just as surely as NOT being brave enough to fail keeps you far away. Only with the courage to fail do we try new techniques, theories, solutions, or do we acquire new knowledge, experience and skills.
Being fearful of failure stops us from seeking out new contacts and ideas, prevents us from testing possible answers, and keeps us exactly where we are now – while everyone around us is confidently failing their way past us to success.
So next time something goes horribly wrong for you, dust yourself off, examine what happened, learn from your mistakes, then have another go. Try a different way, get more help or just persevere with a solution you’re pretty sure will work in the end. You never know where your courage to fail may lead you.
You can find out more about Lucy’s coaching on her website.Lucy Barkas