This week, I’ve been on the phone with quite a few clients who have been berating themselves for past choices– whether that’s the choice to take a job they now hate, or the choice to date someone who didn’t end up being the one.
I’m not a fan of self-abuse, let alone retroactively when there’s nothing we can do to change matters.
Instead, I’m all about integrating what failure is here to teach us. And it’s a lot.
Here’s four reasons why failure is, in fact, your friend.
1) Failures, especially big ones, are often blazing signposts of life lessons we have yet to learn.
Before this failure, did you have warning signs that the choice might not be the right one? Did you ignore those warning signs? There’s a reason for that.
Chances are good that there was something this choice was meant to teach you. Figure out what it is, and you won’t make the same mistake again.
2) Failures point out our limiting beliefs and demand that we undo them.
Did you make the choice that landed you in this failure because you believed you didn’t deserve better in a mate, or wouldn’t be able to find another job, or needed to settle for something “just for the money”?
Limiting beliefs are like fallen trees in the roadway to success. If you don’t remove them from your path, they will continue to divert you.
Think about it: what did you believe about yourself or your circumstances that led you to this choice? And is that belief the truth, or a fabrication of your imagination? Where do you have work to do?
Thanks to failure, you can excavate these issues and move on.
3) Our failures remind us that there are no peaks without valleys. (tweet this!)
As a good friend of mine regularly points out, if all you ever ate was prime rib, eventually you might want a burger just so you could be reminded of how good the prime rib really tastes.
Success is all the more enjoyable when it’s tempered by the experiences we have and knowledge we glean when we fail. And failure reminds us of how sweet life can be on the other side.
4) In hindsight, every failure is a good thing, because without each one, we would not be who we are today.
None of us would be who we are today without every single experience of our lives, however much those experiences might have sucked at the time. For this reason, I am also a believer that, as you’ve heard me say before, there are no wrong paths and there are no wrong choices.
We all land exactly where we are supposed to be on our paths at exactly the right time.
Look back at your past failures with a sense of wonder, and if possible, even with gratitude. Each one was a stepping stone to a brighter future. You would not be the wondrous being you are now without them.
Wishing you a week of succeeding and failing wildly. (smile!).