Failure in Achieving a Goal?


We tend to think of failing to achieve a goal as something shameful and undesirable. Understandably, failing can often cause negative feelings, no matter how big or small the goal.  The only way to overcome those feelings is by changing the way we understand failure.  Failure is a natural part of success and provides valuable lessons we can learn from.

Three ways to redefine failure and learn from it.   

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – Mistakes are more than just thinking about all the things that went wrong. We can use mistakes as a tool for learning what to do differently in the future.
  2. Think about progress – a mistake is a natural part of our growth. We can view our mistakes as necessary steps to getting things right and making progress.
  3. Clarify the mistake– a mistake can be classified as preventative or complex-related. A mistake that is preventable is based on the need for more focus or attention.  A complex-related mistake results from an obstacle in a specific factor such as lack of motivation, skills, or resources.

Whatever the source of the mistake, removing any negative feelings about it and re-framing it as a source of new knowledge is the first step towards learning from failure effectively.

Rethink your approach to your goal

Now that you’re looking at the mistake without judgment think of how you got into the situation.

In some cases, discussing the failure with someone you trust can help you see the issues differently. Rely on your support network to pinpoint what went wrong and how you can overcome it.

Identifying what caused the mistake is not enough. You need to make plans to manage these obstacles in the future.

Remember, failure is not permanent. By accepting defeat, analyzing its causes, and defining how you can eliminate those causes, you’re on your way to achieving your goals.

About the author

Robin Lavitch, MA, CPC, is the founder of Surpass Your Goals, a coaching practice for entrepreneurs, executives, tweens, school administrators, and more. Her capacity to connect with audiences, elicit thought-provoking ideas and clarify personal ambitions prepares people to apply that knowledge instantaneously to accelerate their own results in leadership, sales, and time management.

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