Failure as Feedback

How do most of you define failure? Does it bring up a negative feeling? Or, can you think of it in terms of being useful in getting you where you want to go? What if I told you that only you have the power to decide whether or not something is indeed, a “failure”? Let’s assume for all practical reasons that ‘today’, failure means success. How can you possibly acknowledge your success at the same time you are vocalizing failure? Here are some examples: being able to recognize that everything hadn’t gone according to the plan, or you didn’t achieve the desired outcome, is in itself a positive outcome; that the specific path you took this time around, clearly wasn’t the right one, and so it has been successfully eliminated and will not be repeated; that you’ll know to do things differently in the future; that the experience has enabled you to grow in some way. “Failure” can simply be a great way to get us to pause in the midst of our process. This pause allows us to possibly change directions, try something new, continue our learning, or shift our focus. Imagine what would happen if we didn’t get that feedback, and continued endlessly along the wrong path, toward the wrong goal, or without ever learning a new approach? Failure, then, can really be seen as positive feedback……information that gets us back on the right track!

1. Clear idea of end result
Always have a clear idea of where you want to go and continue to re-evaluate it as you move forward. What direction are you heading? What is your ultimate goal? Spend some time this week writing down what you would like to see in your future. Focus on career, personal development, relationships, balance, etc.
2. Identify milestones
Identify specific milestones or markers along the way, to let you know you are on the right track. Be sure to celebrate these successes. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, break that down into five-pound milestones. Each time you lose five pounds, celebrate and acknowledge your success.
3. Continually learn
If something doesn’t appear to be working, or working fast enough, don’t hesitate to try something new. Explore why it isn’t working and try going about it in a different fashion. Continually learn from others who may have traveled down a similar road before.

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