To achieve significant success in today’s world, you should expect to encounter your fair share of failures. Ask anyone who has achieved success in their field, and they will tell you the multiple ways they failed during their journey to the top. It’s important to start viewing failures and setbacks as valuable opportunities you can learn from and utilise to accomplish true success in your career and life in general.
Here are four tips to help you navigate your way through failures toward ultimate success:
1. Change the way you think.
It’s a normal reaction to want to avoid failure. However, unless you live in some alternate reality, failure is simply a fact in both life and business. So, instead of viewing failure as something to avoid, view it as a pathway to new opportunities and ultimate success.
Along with changing your overall viewpoint toward failure, you will also have to face the fear that fills you with self-doubt and paralyses you from moving forward.
Fearful thoughts of failure can be the most detrimental hindrance on your journey to success. If you permit them to creep in and allow them to linger, they can convince you to play small and remain stagnant. Don’t let that happen. Evaluate the cause of your past failures. Then sit down and outline ways to avoid the same thing from happening again and start taking steps forward with a new action plan in place.
This doesn’t mean you won’t experience other failures along the way, but each one will teach you more about your business, your relationships, and yourself. Take risks and accept failure as a welcome companion on the path to success.
2. Welcome mistakes and learn from them.
Instead of going into a panic every time you make a mistake, sit back, take a deep breath, and learn from it quickly. Many successful people have made some big mistakes —and they chose to build on those valuable lessons.
Learning to fail well means learning to understand your mistakes. The exciting reality is that in every mistake there is a potential for growth. The only way to fail at failing is to learn nothing from the experience.
For example, if your startup doesn’t quite take off like you had hoped or an important business deal doesn’t pan out, most likely you’re going to spend a significant amount of time analysing every mistake, wrong turn, and misstep you made, as well as every little thing you could’ve done better. This can be a good thing, as long as you are using the information to move forward and not to beat yourself up needlessly and wallow in self-pity.
Trial and error is one of the most effective ways to improve our skills and knowledge, even though it isn’t always pretty. Don’t throw away or dismiss your failed experiment; learn from it. Write down and remember everything you know that you could have done better. It will motivate you to forge ahead with the valuable wisdom you’ve gained.
3. Don’t lose your confidence.
Failure in business and all aspects of life will shake anybody’s confidence. It’s just a simple part of being human. However, maintaining your confidence and optimism in the midst of failure is central to achieving success and realising your goals.
Take a look at Steve Jobs as an example. He was fired from the company he co-founded because of the mistakes he made. It would have been easy for anyone in that situation to feel defeated and hopeless. However, Jobs refused to lose faith in his ideas. Instead, he built a technological empire.
You don’t have to be a genius or work in his same industry to follow his example. Remind yourself that you have strengths to rely on and weaknesses to improve on. Everybody falls down from time to time. That doesn’t mean you can’t still pick yourself up and run the marathon. The only true failure is doing nothing because inaction puts everything at risk. When you do nothing, it means you are not moving anywhere. And that is a surefire way to fail and stay in failure. The only way failure can hold you back is if you let it rob you of your confidence and keep you stuck right where you are.
4. Embrace the future.
Fear of starting over can be crippling. Whether you’ve worked hard to build a successful business from scratch or to climb through the ranks of your company, finding yourself back at square one can feel debilitating, to say the least. However, it doesn’t have to be.
There is a certain thrill of setting out on a new adventure that can help propel you toward opportunities and experiences you may have never thought of if not for failure. Don’t look at starting over as a setback, but instead, view it as an opportunity.
For most of us it’s human nature to want a well-planned and predictable future. However, some of the most amazing achievements are born out of the unknown. Yes, it can be scary, but try to let yourself enjoy the possibilities that are waiting for you as you move forward step by step, confident that you’re wiser, stronger, and more prepared.
It’s time to enjoy the journey.
Success is the destination. Failure is how you get there.
Your success depends on many factors, but perhaps the most important is your ability to learn from and build upon failure.
You will have failures. They are unavoidable. However, by changing your outlook on mistakes and failures, maintaining your confidence, and embracing all the exciting possibilities that the future holds for you, you will surely achieve the success you are reaching for.
Faye Ferris is the APAC Sales and Marketing Director for BusinessesForSale.com, one of the world’s largest online global marketplaces for buying and selling small-to-medium sized businesses. Faye is passionate about helping Australian small business succeed and regularly writes about entrepreneurship and business management.