Does failing make you a failure?

11 Apr Career Advice
Failure – something that happens to us all at some stage.

For many people, the word failure is an uncomfortable one, a word with negative connotations that conjures an image of someone who maybe didn’t work hard enough.

But failure occurs everyday, in schools, in work and in family life. It is unavoidable. We can all learn something from failure.

What does failure mean?

Does failure mean defeat? Or does it represent an opportunity for growth and self-improvement? Failure is an opportunity to learn from the mistakes that led us there. It is an opportunity for self-reflection – what did I do wrong? What can I do differently to make sure that I don’t go wrong again?

By identifying the weaknesses, you can learn from your mistakes. These lessons will teach you what NOT to do next time. By making the mistake now, it paves the way for success in the future, provided you learn from the mistakes you made and don’t repeat it.

Managing Failure

Learning how to manage failure is important. When things go badly wrong it can feel like a crisis and become very stressful. In situations like these it’s important to be resilient, otherwise the stress and pressure you feel can start to become overwhelming.

By being resilient and overcoming the failure, you will learn about yourself. This insight and the lessons you will learn will benefit you long-term and teach you how to manage failures in the future, helping you turn them around and make them a success.

A New Direction?

Experiencing a failure may force you in a direction which you hadn’t planned. Instead of looking at this as a bad thing – look at is a new opportunity. It is a chance to re-focus your efforts on something else, using the lessons learned from the mistakes you made to help make it a success. When one door closes another one opens, as they say!

Famous Failures

There are many examples of successful people who have all at some stage of their life experienced failures and setbacks.

J.K. Rowling was a single mother, divorced and claiming benefits. When she sent the draft for Harry Potter to all 12 major publishers, every one of them rejected it. It took another year of trying before a small publishing house, Bloomsbury, accepted it and gave her a modest advance of £1500. We all know what happened next. She is one of the best-selling authors in the world.

Did you know that Bill Gates was also a ‘failure’? Before he set up Microsoft, he launched a company called Traf-O-Data, which created reports for engineers from traffic data. The company experienced some success in data processing, but the machine they used to process data flopped. This failure didn’t stop him from trying again, instead spurring him on to establish one of the world’s most successful companies in the world – Microsoft, making him one of the richest people in the world.

Pick yourself up and dust yourself off!

What they have in common is a persistence and determination to succeed after experiencing failure. The people who are often successful are people who have experienced failure many times, using it as a stepping stone to something better.

Try not to think of it as a step back, it is simply an obstacle to overcome and learn from.

“You learn a lot from success, but you learn even more from failure.” – Tracy McMillan