How Embracing My Failures Helped Me To Become More Confident
Failure is scary, overwhelming and most of the time easier to avoid. Truth to be told, I never liked facing my own failures. It reveals my weaknesses and inadequacy. It also makes me feel vulnerable and inferior.
There was a particular year in my University life where I needed to take a break upon facing a mental breakdown which left me failing a semester that required a retake. I didn’t just need a break for the healing journey but I needed to build my resilience to retake an entire semester.
It felt like a terrible failure at that moment in time, I battled through negative thoughts and difficult emotions. Indeed, it is a process to navigate how to move beyond letting a failure just be a “failure”. It is also easy to allow my self-worth to get wrapped up in it.
However, I took time to sit still and reflect on this event on how I could move forward. Doing this allowed me to be more confident in myself and a little more fearless in facing multiple challenges that lay before me.
1. Reframing Failure – Looking at it in a different light
I started seeing failure as a platform of improvement and progress for the long haul, rather than a performance for the short run.
Facing failure forced me to work on my skills, make improvements, and find ways to study better which will help me in the next few years, not just one short term.
There’s the tendency to magnify the present event as a fixed outcome as if it could happen again. However, when I see failure as a part of life, it looks like bits and pieces. These pieces make up life as a whole. Failure is simply a process that brings me to my destination and a stepping stone to greatness.
2. Reflecting on Failure- A realignment to my goals
It is common for circumstances to change, and goals to shift. One benefit of failure is that it gives you a chance to reassess your goals and where you want to go. Facing failure enabled me to reassess whether what I was studying was something that I wanted to pursue in the long run. When I decided that I was going to get back to it, I chose to finish it strong,
Use failure to check in with your long-term goals and ask yourself:
- Is this really what I want?
- Am I prepared to put in the hard work?
- Have I made mistakes that I can learn from?
If you realize that your goal has changed, that is okay. You are able to make amends. If you’re not willing to push on after your failure, then you know the goal is not something you really want. If your goal is the same, great – use the failure to spur you on.
Facing failure should never be an end goal but a pit stop for reflecting whether you are where you want to be.
3. The Power of Failure- It builds the strength of my character
So often failure looks like a negative event rather than a positive one. However, going through a failure was a remarkable test of my character, resilience, and determination.
Was I going to allow my failure to crumble me, stop me from truly living, or to move forward and finish my journey strong?
Anyone can look like they have it all together especially when times are good. However, how do you measure up when the going gets tough? Do you crumble from within or are you able to stand strong, keep walking, and fix your mind on where you want to be?
Take a moment to think about that as it takes empowerment from within to get back up on your two feet. I truly believe that by going through the worst, that you will be able to rise up even higher than before. Failure is a testament to what you are made of from within.
4. Growing from Failure- Allowing failure to shape who I am for my future
Facing an expected failure forced me to look to deeper meanings of life. It helped me see why I was doing the things that I do. I started seeing life being more than just for me to survive but to thrive in areas that I was truly passionate about.
Facing failure pushes you to grow and mature. You will begin to see life with a perspective that allows you to develop meaning from painful situations. I’m proud to say that from this failure, I pause to see how it could help me better live my life.
If you are facing a difficult painful failure in your life, here are some book recommendations. These are aimed to give you a better perspective:
- Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success by John C. Maxwell
Life is designed for us to grow and improve. Growth is a fundamental part of life. Do not allow yourself to remain where you are as you face failure but rather use it for your advantage. Embrace your failures to build your confidence and you will surprise yourself with what you will be able to achieve next. Here’s my challenge for you; start failing forward, it’s the only way you move forth.
For further reading, check out this article on How Fear of Failure is Stunting Your Creative Growth.