One of the MOST important things in life, and one of the biggest contributors to success, is overcoming the fear of failure. It's one of the leading reasons people don't follow their dreams, chase what their passionate about or have a crack at something they love, although once you overcome that fear and you do actually fail, you'll see why it's such a critical part of evolving, both personally and professionally. Not convinced? Check out 5 Reasons Why Failure is Good. In this article I'll show you five ways to find opportunity in failure.
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1. Look at where you went wrong.
First of all, for us to learn and grow from our mistakes, we need to recognise what that mistake was. Look back on why you failed and what went wrong. This might be painfully obvious, or it might be an underlying reason that you need to discover. Either way, once you've recognised the error (or errors!), you can start to assess what to do next time. Failure teaches us the best lessons, so make sure you take it all in! You won't get this knowledge anywhere else! Embrace it.
2. Look at what you discovered.
Almost nothing in life goes to plan. Regardless of how much time or thought you put into something, it's almost guaranteed that you will run into unexpected obstacles, or even valuable discoveries. Looking back on what happened, what are the key things you found out? What did you learn along the way that you couldn't possibly have expected? What positive resources, moments or discoveries came out of it? Combine that with the lessons you learned in point one, and you've already got some priceless insight into what to do next time, as well as new knowledge that can be applied.
3. Identify the key people you found.
Who did you meet along the way? Did you start a new business that despite the failure, managed to connect you with investors, marketers or developers? Lawyers? More? It can be anybody! Despite many failures and expensive mistakes, one of the most valuable things I have got out of business is the people. I've met some amazing people, and also some seriously useful ones. Engineers, investors, lawyers, designers, people from all walks of life that I can work with in the future.
Practicality aside - it's great to make new friends. Even if you had a spectacular failure that resulted in the fiery death of whatever you built, you've most likely experienced it with some others, and you've made some lifelong pals along the way.
4. Create a new solution.
Equipped with the lessons, new knowledge and new relationships from your most recent failure, you can now create something better than ever. This might be a better solution to what you already tried, or it may be a solution to entirely new product or market. Whatever it is, your chances of success have seriously increased, because you now have the experience, and everything else that comes along with it. It's time to apply it!
5. Start again - and fail again!
We just learned how you can make the most of your failures. Now it's time to make more! Nobody fails once and never again. We all fail, and we fail all the time. If you've gained anything from this article, I hope it's that you can now see how powerful and useful failing can be! If anything, you should want to do it more! I like to say that in life you never lose. You win, or you learn. That's a 100% success rate on a productive outcome! How good is that?
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I know, it can feel painful, frustrating, aggravating and even heartbreaking in the moment. But believe me - what doesn't kill you does make you stronger, and you'll come out the end with more and more experience every single time! If you keep pushing, you will make it eventually. So good luck!