What If You Fail?

You don’t have to have full-blown fear of failure to be concerned. When you start working on a new goal, it’s common sense to think that you may fail at it. In fact, unless your goal is not at all challenging, you most likely will fail, at least in some of the details.

So how do you handle failure when you are working on achieving a new goal? Well, it’s simple. Try your best to embrace it. Think of each failure as a lesson in the school of hard knocks. And when you graduate, boy, will you be smart.

Try not to take failure personally. Admittedly, that’s easier said than done. After all, you have chosen your goal because it is something you truly desire. You have focused on the goal and committed time, energy, and possibly money to reach it. Surely it’s hard not to take failure personally.

But by looking at a failure analytically, you can examine what went wrong and what went right, learn from the experience, decide what to keep and what to discard, and then move on. Failure is very instrumental in perfecting your strategy toward reaching your goal.

Many of the most successful people have failed in some measure, and many honor their failures as learning experiences and part of the training necessary to meet the goal. As Ellen DeGeneres said, “When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and times when you fail, and both are equally important.”

When you create your plan to reach your goal, recognize that you may fail at certain things. You can even temper your goal to accommodate the possibility of failure. If your goal starts out, “I want a job that pays me $100,000,” you may re-write it to say, “I want a job where I can contribute to the company, be challenged to develop high level skills, and have the potential of high income growth.”

By stating a goal that way, you identify other characteristics of the goal that have value than just the salary. That gives you more chances to succeed. It also gives you a chance to accomplish the goal over time. Getting the job is the first stage of success. Getting the salary that you want is a second, future stage of success.

Encountering failure is bound to hurt but don’t let it stop you. Learn from your errors. Claim the things that you got right. And whatever you do, don’t quit. Make necessary revisions to your plan and get back to work on your goal.

And never overlook the wisdom that you can from having failed. “I have not failed,” Thomas Edison said. “I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”