What happens when you think of the word “failure”? Do you think back to all the things you did that didn’t turn out quite right? Do you get an uncomfortable feeling in your gut about missed opportunities?
If so, it’s time to reframe how you look at failure. Because failure isn’t something to be ashamed of, run from, or feel bad about.

Here are some great ways to start treating failure like the learning opportunity it is:

  1. Really own the fact that nothing is ever perfect. Your life is a work in progress, a forward-facing journey that never truly stops. Perfection is the enemy of progress. Reaching your goals, or striving to do better next time, is better than doing something “right” straight off-the-bat. No one ever learns from perfection. They learn from what didn’t work.
  2. Remember that even the most successful people miss the mark. But they also keep trying.
    Steven Spielberg was rejected twice by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and yet went on to have a career that offered him countless accolades.
    Michael Jordan has even missed more than 9,000 shots in his career. But he’s considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
    What separates the high performers from the rest is the fact that they kept trying. Consistency is key.
  3. Make a plan. Say you tried to connect with people at a networking event and found that many people didn’t respond the way you expected. Reading the room is important, and you may have missed some social cues. Next time, you’re going to go in with a plan, and identify the people you need to reach out to, figure out how to reach them based on social cues and their personality type, and make the highest value connection you possible can.
  4. Fear has no place in self-actualization. Measured risks are worth taking.

    “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.-Albert Einstein”

    With great risk often comes great reward. But if you fear stepping outside of your comfort zone, you won’t ever take the risks you need to make the LEAP. Playing the game the safe way is benching yourself for future progress.

  5. Self reflect, and you’ll never fear failure again.
    By reflecting on what you did, what worked, and what didn’t, taking risks and making the most out of your opportunities, you’ll own your journey. Every opportunity is not just an opportunity for business. It’s also an opportunity to self reflect and build your character. Which is the ultimate goal: becoming a leader for others, and becoming your own personal superhero.

Failure really is just a tool.

Though we aim to be successful at everything we do, that’s not realistic. What is realistic is being mindful of where you are in your journey. Reflecting on what you could’ve done better. Making a plan.

And treating failure like the learning opportunity it truly is.