What to Do about Failure

Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”

Failure happens – even to the greatest athletes out there – but it doesn’t mean that you can’t turn those failures into success.

We’re going to talk about what to do when you, inevitably, fail on the path to reaching your goals.

Growth Mindset

The most valuable thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to have a “growth mindset.”

This is a way of thinking about everything in your life that lets you learn from failures and see them as an opportunity to grow and be better in the future. 

The opposite of a growth mindset is a “fixed mindset” where you believe that you are who you are and growth isn’t possible.

This type of mindset favors the idea that talent alone creates success. This type of thinker feels that failure says something about them personally. 

Abby Wambach said that “failure is not something to be ashamed of; it’s something to be powered by.”

Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure. We need to have information about what doesn’t work to figure out what does.

What to Do about Failure

Failure is natural when you’re working to better yourself. Here’s what you can do to make failure into a learning experience and fuel for success:

  1. Be thorough in an analysis of what went well. Nothing is a complete failure, but we can miss the good stuff when focusing only on the negative. The good parts are also valuable information because you’ll want to repeat what you were doing right!
  2. Be thorough about what went wrong and why, but don’t get too in your head over it. Figure out the issue and move on. 
  3. Ban negative self-talk and any connections to your self-worth. Failure is not an indicator of your overall abilities or qualities. 
  4. Focus on your plan for trying again. You now have the information you need to move forward. You won’t make the same mistake again!

Failure is only information. Think of it as feedback on your plans and goals. You learn what needs rethinking and then you’re on your way to greatness.