A Winner's Guide Through Failure

by Kristine Baffo

If you are looking for a magic wand solution to fixing failure stop reading here ... or at least stop reading at the next sentence where I tell you that it doesn’t exist. I won’t say that but keep on reading.
Failure much like several other things in our life never stops, it just gets different. And if we get serious about how we handle failure, we have the opportunity to have higher quality failures. Yay! But contrary to popular belief, we should be more serious about failure and how we handle it. Why? Because:

Failure is inevitable
I can walk you through why it is important to handle this properly but I will let you try this one on your own. Think about this: Pick one really annoying problem. Imagine that the problem that you selected will happen over and over again. How will you handle this problem? Will you focus on what to do next time? Take your “L” and then move on to the next opportunity? Or will you analyze how you got to where you are? If you are like me, you have probably tried all of these strategies for solving your problems. However, for problems that are expected to happen repeatedly, it would be detrimental to our wellbeing not to create a framework for how to address and learn from past.

Working through our failures will help us “pass the test”
Let’s think about the above scenario again. Think about that same problem and repeat the scenario. You may even wonder why life has thrown you similar obstacles in different situation or exactly the same obstacle. This challenge or obstacle that you experience is the test. Sometimes we have to retake the test in several different iterations, some even unbeknownst to us. Other times we learn from our mistakes, “pass the test,” and carry with us gems that will help prevent similar situations from reoccurring. But here’s a hint about passing the test, not all of the failures have to be yours. You can learn from those around you to save some time!

Failure and success are two sides of the same coin
We can easily be obsessed with succeeding. However, we don’t exactly have the same passion for failing, which is not surprising. But what if I told you that failure and success are two sides to of the same coin? Both require some form of risk and/or vulnerability on your behalf to achieve. This means that if you dare to succeed, you dare to fail. This changes the narrative a bit, huh?
This close relationship between failure and success is why taking failure seriously is important. Our actions can easily either lead to failure or success.
So what are you waiting for? Grab whatever people dare to take as they are about to embark on new and questionable territories and follow me. We will explore healthy and sustainable ways to embrace our failure.
Like any professional, you need the right tools in order to get through a task. And while there are many ways to approach failure, I will offer a lens that I have personally found beneficial in learning about how to begin handling failure more seriously. That lens is self-compassion.

What is self-compassion? As explained by psychologist Kristen Neff, self-compassion is when you offer understanding and kindness to yourself when you fail or make mistakes, rather than judging your mistakes harshly. Self-compassion is one of the most universal lens to approaching failure that I have encountered because it is relatable. We have all been harsh with ourselves after a failure. Kindness to ourselves is a step to having a better mentality regarding failure.



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