Failure is an Option- Learn to Embrace Failure as a Growth Opportunity

It’s a given; no one sets out to fail. We all have hopes and dreams, and many will lead us to bigger and bigger stages as we progress; however, as we achieve more and climb higher and higher, the further the fall when things don’t work out. There are usually are two approaches to address these feelings. Some allow fear of failure to become a limitation and only move when they have a safety net or a fallback to mitigate a steep decline.  Others choose to keep climbing higher, even without a safety net to catch them. The common misconception is the latter group is a risk taker that doesn’t see failure as an option or hasn’t calculated the risks associated with failure.

Failure is not a binary outcome

Many view failure as a very black and white outcome. However, it’s much more than a static result. It is a valuable part of any growth process. 

If you have ever trained or worked out, you understand this concept. Increasing athletic performance is about chasing failure. You know that pushing your body to its limits is the only way to grow and improve performance.  

Failure is a data point that helps you find the limitations of your current situation. Failure can result from a lack of experience, a lack of skills, or other external factors. The data points that lead to failure are some of the most valuable information you can get. 

If you don’t understand your limitations and the factors that cause them, how can you begin to challenge and expand them?

Shift your mindset to unlock potential

Fear of change is a natural human instinct. In many cases, it helps to keep us in safe and recognizable situations that limit our risk. But it can become a hindrance when you are trying to grow and expand to new growth areas and success. 

Our beliefs and mindset are responsible for the actions we do or do not take. To achieve your goals and aspirations, you may have to go against the grain of your conventional beliefs. You have to shift your mindset from the default “survival” mode and embrace a mindset that allows you to invest in yourself to grow and progress.

When you are not open to the idea that failure is an option, your actions become limiting in nature. You tend to make moves that are more calculated and safe. That approach will not help you achieve aggressive goals. 

Achieving those types of goals takes a more aggressive mindset and approach. Embrace change and accept the possibility of failure as a learning process allows you to unlock the potential you may not have known existed.

Focus on the process

Failure as an outcome is an overrated metric. The lessons it teaches and the insights gained from the process are some of the most relevant and actionable learnings you can earn. 

Getting the most out of those lessons takes an intentional focus on the process. Your success or failure often leads to the next challenge but seldom gives you the roadmap to achieving it.

But, the insights and learnings from the process are the roadmap to create the outcomes you desire. In success, understanding why you succeeded and how you can duplicate the efforts is invaluable. In failure, knowing why you failed and how you can improve to achieve your next goal is equally valuable.

Failure is an essential part of the growth process. No matter the outcome, when you lead with an intentional focus on the process and can be self-aware throughout it, you’ll discover the roadmap on how to move forward.

It will teach you one of two things that are equally valuable in your personal growth:

  1. Your limitations are much further away than you realized, and you’ll accelerate toward the next challenge
  2. You’ll learn valuable lessons about why the failure occurred and continue driving yourself forward
Marques Colston
Marques Colston

Executive Coach. Strategist. Entrepreneur.

I help growth-minded athletes, executives, and entrepreneurs achieve sustainable professional success.

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