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Ask Dr. C: 3 Tips to Tackle Failure

“That won’t work…”  – I’ve always resisted those words.

As a child, I never liked the thought that any of my ideas wouldn’t turn into great things.  Of course, every idea isn’t golden.  And ideas are such fragile things. They can be killed with a sneer or a yawn.  They also die when you’re too afraid that what you want to do will fail.  Most of the things that make me feel proud today or give me satisfaction (like The Lovely Project!)  had many moments of discouragement and opportunities to fail.  But when the fear that something may fail is too strong – it prevents you from ever starting anything that will bring real achievement or satisfaction.

If you want to be a woman who achieves great things – you’ve got to learn how to fail.   Learn to be a woman who isn’t paralyzed by failure.  Failure is not our enemy and can be productive if we know how to learn from it.

“Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

~ Thomas Edison

What are some tips for getting past the thought that failure is the worst thing ever?

1.  Find a new way of looking at mistakes. 

One thing that will help you redefine failure is to let yourself make mistakes.  Not the kind of mistake that, while you are making it, you know you shouldn’t be doing whatever it is.  But I mean the kind of mistake that comes from taking a calculated risk or trying something new that you think just might work.  On your next assignment or project or really great idea you have – allow yourself to make ___ amount of mistakes.  How many mistakes should you expect to make?  As many as needed.  Since mistakes don’t define failure, you needn’t fear them.  Mistakes are one price you pay for achievement.

2.  Know that failing doesn’t make you a failure.  

Every successful person is someone who has failed, but didn’t view themselves as a failure.  One of the geniuses of the musical world, Wolfgang Mozart, was told that his opera The Marriage of Figaro was too noisy and had too many notes.  The artist Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime.  Thomas Edison, arguably the greatest inventor in history, was considered unteachable as a youth.  Albert Einstein was told by one of his teachers that he would “never amount to much”.

3. Take responsibility to learn from your failure.   

For example: take a look at the last relationship you were in that failed.  Look for anything negative in the failure that you should claim responsibility for.  Own it.  Once you begin to see what is your responsibility, you’ll be able to change.  Dedicate yourself to the process of learning what you need to know and do.

Some of you reading this aren’t happy with your job, family situations or life.

Will you find a new way of looking at the mistakes you have made?

Will you allow yourself to get past feeling like a failure, so that you can make real changes?

Will you take responsibility for what you need to learn to move forward?

I like this quote from John Maxwell:

Not realizing what you want is a problem of knowledge.  Not pursuing what you want is a problem of motivation.  Not achieving what you want is a problem of persistence.”

So, lovelies, remember:  If you’re not failing, you’re probably not taking any steps forward!

Dr. C.