Last year, I didn’t achieve one of my most important goals. I was simply going to try again this year when something stopped me in my tracks. Visions of 2017 turning out exactly like 2016 in that regard, flashed before my eyes, along with the thought, what’s the plan to succeed this year where you failed last year?
You probably already know that it’s important to be alert in success because success leaves clues and you want to be able to replicate that, but what about being alert in failure?
It is not enough to pick yourself up and try, try again. If you do only that, chances are you’ll fail, fail again. The vital thing is reflect on your failure, learn from it, and then try again. This is the only way to fail forward.
We all know someone who has failed at something and yet, by their actions, show that they didn’t learn from it. They simply do all over again exactly what they did before, and end up having an even rougher time. Maybe they then start to whine about how they’re just not lucky, or they’ve been bewitched, or something.
Every time you fail at something, it’s an opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Why didn’t it work? What could you have done better? What will you do differently next time around? This is how you turn your disappointments and mistakes into fuel that propels you to success. Every time you make your failure your teacher, asking the right questions of it, you’re training yourself to recover from setbacks, to increase your “bouncebackability” and ultimately to break through.
Otherwise your career goals won’t be met, your business won’t grow, your diet will fail again, and you enter yet another relationship that will crash and burn.
You’ve probably read stories of how many times great people failed before they finally achieved their dreams. The key is not merely in trying again, it’s in reflection and learning. Take the time to think things through and extract answers from your defeat. Only then will you be truly ready to try again – armed with the right tools.
Even if last year wasn’t great for you (or was downright awful) don’t stop believing. Embrace a fresh start, lay out your goals again, review your strategy, and believe. Here’s “The Structure”, a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox that I love so much:
Upon the wreckage of thy yesterday
Design the structure of to-morrow. Lay
Strong cornerstones of purpose, and prepare
Great blocks of wisdom, cut from past despair.
Shape mighty pillars of resolve, to set
Deep in the tear-wet mortar of regret.
Work on with patience. Though thy toil be slow,
Yet day by day the edifice shall grow.
Believe in God–in thine own self believe.
All that thou hast desired thou shalt achieve.
Now that’s the kind of talk you should be listening to!