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Failing Forward: How to Turn Flops into Unmissable Opportunities

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I used to be absolutely terrified of failing. Like, hide-under-the-covers-and-never-try-anything-new kind of scared. I thought that if I failed, it meant I wasn't good enough, and my inner critic would have a field day with that – “Ha, ha…told you so! Told you, you would biff it!”

But then I had a mindset shifting, light-bulb moment…

It wasn’t my flops, missteps, or wearing a little egg on my face that were the real issue. It was how I let them affect me. It was allowing them to fuel that pesky inner voice and all the negative feels that came with her not-so-dulcet tones in my ear.

Once I realized that and realized that I’ve always had the power to choose what I think and feel, I was able to see mistakes and failures as powerful tools. Tools that I can learn from and ultimately grow from. As a matter of fact, they’ve helped me…

Discover new possibilities. For example, if a program I created didn’t gain traction, I used to feel like a total flop. Now, I use that lack of traction as my catalyst for creativity and innovation, and an opportunity to explore new options and alternatives that I might have overlooked or ignored before.

So, when something goes South, I ask myself questions like:

What worked that I could reuse?

What sort of worked that can be tweaked?

What didn’t work that needs to be let go of?

Grow as a person and be myself. I’ve learned what I want and what feels right for me. This has been huge. It’s helped to stop being a people-pleaser of the highest order and to walk away from relationships that aren’t a good fit for me. You can learn a lot from what doesn’t work to find out what does and will work. What feels expansive versus constrictive.

Two Powerful Mindset Shifting Tips to Use

Put Away the Metaphoric 2 x 4. It’s all too easy to beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make. But here’s the thing, doing so prevents us from seeing the positive possibilities. So, I’d like to ask you to give yourself a little grace and take that 2x4 to the nearest woodchipper by asking yourself the following questions:

What insight did I gain from this?

What did I learn about me that’s going to be of support going forward?

Brainstorm With Someone You Trust. Talking it out takes it from between our ears, where mistakes and failures loom large, and adds a new perspective to it. The next time you feel you’ve biffed it big time, talk it through with someone you trust and brainstorm all the potentials and possibilities that can be used going forward.

At the end of the day, I’ve come to see that there are only two ways I can ever really fail, when I’m not being true to me and when I give up on what’s important. Everything outside of those two things are mistakes that I can learn and grown from.

So, the next time you face failure of any kind, I hope you don't let it stop you or discourage you. Instead, I hope you use it as a mindset shifting tool and turn it into a positive opportunity of growth and learning.

P.S. Check out this blog post for more insights on how to turn mistakes into something awesome.



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