The Gift of Failure: Tips on Transforming Setbacks into Success

The Gift of Failure: Tips on Transforming Setbacks into Success

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“Allow disappointment to bring you back to your true essence by stripping away any inauthentic expectations, rediscovering your solid values and going forward with what really matters most to you.”

I have been told that people must fail, sometimes many times, before success can be attained. There are countless stories of people who have been rejected, lost their fortunes, were told they would not amount to anything or have failed relationships, only to overcome the obstacles and find enormous success in the aftermath. So, if failure is part of the formula for success, why are people so afraid of getting busted?

Society is eager to define what success means for people, and each stage of life seems to be judged by what we do or do not do; have or do not have; and accomplish or do not accomplish. Many people fail along the way, and there seems to be harshness and judgment of those individuals in that moment. No wonder people are afraid to fall short. They are so busy worrying about what people might think that they often miss seeing the gift that failure has to offer. They are running scared from the fear of failure, sometimes more than the failure itself.

So, what’s the solution? Fail. Fail fast, fail hard and then tap into a deeper desire to excel and begin again. It has been said that in order to succeed, your desire for victory must exceed your fear of failure. There is a richness and wisdom to someone who has failed and come back with inner strength, disciplined determination, gentle compassion and the knowledge that they can survive adversity. Henry Ford realized this when he stated, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more wisely.”

Allow disappointment to bring you back to your true essence by stripping away any inauthentic expectations, rediscovering your solid values and going forward with what really matters most to you. When my marriage failed, it became an opportunity for me to redefine who I am and then create a career based on what really mattered to me— empowering others to be their true selves. It’s probably not something I would have done without failing in the life I had created and then getting honest about what was really important to me. I had to overcome the fear of not being able to support myself emotionally, spiritually and financially in order to move forward with a new life vision.

So, have you gotten busted lately? Has the possibility of failure entered your world and you are afraid of what will happen next, especially during this time of Covid-19? Are you shy about making a mistake, one so big that you might not survive the consequences or perhaps know what to do next? Use this opportunity to discover something bigger and better about yourself. I urge you to face any fear, embrace failing often so that you can wildly exceed your own expectations and receive the full benefits of living a complete life with meaning, purpose, pleasure and greatness. Here are some tips on how to embrace failure and begin again.

  • Accept that failure is part of the process.
  • Don’t play the blame game– don’t run or hide from your mistakes but rather clean up what is necessary.
  • Make the action wrong, as opposed to the person being wrong.
  • Love the lesson itself.
  • Apologize for what you did, not for who you are.
  • Choose to stay positive and hopeful, even during the disappointment.
  • Be vulnerable and be human.
  • Refute any shame or guilt.
  • Model failing gracefully and notice your positive personal impact.
  • Be flexible and open to change.
  • Draw conclusions but don’t make assumptions without knowing the facts first.
  • Assess rather than judge.
  • Be proactive around solutions as opposed to being reactive to fear or pain.
  • Create something new and wonderful from the learning, rather than staying stuck in past or pity.
  • Don’t continue the insanity by doing the same thing repeatedly.
  • Look to what you did right; there are always positives.
  • Determine what is next and don’t stay stuck in the muck.
  • See all of the possibilities and make conscious choices.
  • Recover and begin again.
  • Trust yourself, especially in the unknown.
  • Resist shutting others out.
  • Ask for help— it is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness and fear.
  • Stay connected to your heart, to others and to your bigger vision.

In her Harvard commencement speech in 2008, the Harry Potter series author JK Rowling stated, “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.” Welcome the opportunity to get busted and use it as opportunity to continue to transform into the real you.

Desiring to live a more authentic life? Check out my FREE interactive guide, “Be Who You Are: Six Ways to Excavate Yourself, as well as my Excavate Yourself newsletter with tips on living your truest, most passionate you on

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