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How to Stop Failure Holding You Back

Nobody wants to fail but failure is a part of life; it happens. One of the most important lessons to learn in business is how to stop failure from holding you back.

Failure often feels like the end of the world, but it's important to remember that failure is a part of everyday life and doesn't need to be such a big deal. Many new business ventures and career choices can lead to different aspects of failure.

Although we don’t want to fail, the key to success is understanding how to move past the feeling of failing. To overcome failure, you need to change the narrative within your own mindset; take failure on headfirst, then understand, cope, and learn from it.

Understanding failure

Failure is a word with largely negative connotations, it is defined by Oxford as ‘the lack of success’ but I don’t believe this to be an entirely accurate definition.

Failure is not so much a lack of success but rather a part of success. It can be argued that to succeed, you need to fail to some degree because failure is an integral aspect of growth. In every aspect of life we learn from our failures, babies don’t just start walking perfectly on day one, they fall countless times. It’s all about getting up, understanding why it didn’t work and trying again.

Understanding your failure takes vulnerability and self-awareness, it is a difficult process but can ultimately lead you to make positive changes. Start by thinking about how you went wrong and what you would do differently if given the chance again.

Tips for coping with failure

The fear of failure can hold us back from achieving our goals, if we spend too much time worrying about failing, we may never try to step outside of our comfort zones, so it is first important to recognise failure as an act of bravery. To have failed, you must have tried, and you should never regret trying in any aspect.

At first, failing can feel overwhelming, and therefore, coping strategies can be helpful in coming to terms with failure. Here are 3 key strategies that I and many others utilise when trying to overcome the feeling of failure:

1. Positive Thinking

Although it sounds relatively obvious, when you are feeling in a negative headspace it can become difficult to focus on the positive thoughts, take some time from your day to go over them in your head. Remember that failure does not define you, remember why you tried in the first place and remember that you can try as many times as you want.

2. Self-Care

Prioritising your own mental health can seem unimportant after receiving news of failure, but instead of rushing to start again, focus on yourself and build up your own confidence by taking a mental health break. Maybe go for a long walk and listen to an inspiring podcast. Before you try again, make sure you are in the right headspace and are open to potentially failing again.

3. Speaking to Others

Sharing experiences of failure can be rewarding and act as a reminder that you are not alone, you can see from your peers how they have utilised failure and how they overcame it. LinkedIn can be a fantastic space for interacting with people in the exact same situation as you.

How Failure Can Lead to Success

Once you have understood and coped with your failure, you can utilise it to your advantage in your business. You now know that you can survive failure, you understand where you went wrong and you can stop the same mistakes from happening again.

Many of the world’s great business success stories start with failure. For example Bill Gates failed with his first venture, Traf-O-Data, which led to the success of Microsoft in later years. Gates wrote in 2017, that the failure helped them to understand microprocessors and that knowledge was “crucial to our future success”.

Understand that failure is natural and that although you have failed today, that does not mean you will fail tomorrow. For many, in all fields of business, failure can feel like the end of the world, but it is important to change that mindset and look at failure as a stepping stone to future success.

Aimee Downham is a university student, studying English Language and Literature with plans to go into the field of editing and copywriting. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing and more reading. Connect with Aimee on LinkedIn.

For more on bouncing back from failure, check out this article by behavioural coach Michelle Ensuque, or head to our member-exclusive Masterclass at which Jeff Baietto teaches you how he bounced back from rock bottom.


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