Instructor Post:Failure is Necessary

I read a quote once that said:

“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe”.

I found it interesting as I’ve encountered some pretty big failures and disappointments in the last two weeks. While it’s seemingly easy to become disheartened by the failure and disappointment, I’ve decided to take a moment to reflect on why failure is necessary.

Failure grows you

Ever heard the phrase “Bloom where you are planted”? Every time I fail at something, I try to think of the ways I have grown or blossomed through the situation. I remember back in 2013 when I was not selected for a role that I was really excited about. Although hurt, I grew by understanding that my reasons for wanting that role were in the wrong place. I began to really focus on “my why”, instead of just making decisions to do things on a whim. Growing through this failure allowed me the opportunity to take a step back and put the important things into perspective.

Failing often forces us to reflect, to rethink and to re-strategize.

Failure teaches you

The lessons you learn from failing are invaluable. If you are open, your failures create an opportunity for reflection. How many times have you failed at something and thought to yourself:

  • What did I do wrong?

  • What could I have done better?

  • How could the outcome have been different?

How many times have you succeeded at something and asked yourself the same questions? Let’s take a trip to the basketball court for a second. After 2015’s NBA final between Cleveland and Golden State, I can guarantee that LeBron James and his teammates went back and looked at every game, rewind, replayed and studied every move. They did not want to lose again. When the team stepped onto the court for the 2016 finals, they did not allow the failures of the previous year to defeat them. They learned from them and they won. What I am saying here is that failing often forces us to reflect, to rethink and to re-strategize.

The funny thing about failure is that you have the ability to let it DEFINE you or REFINE you.

Failure strengthens you

R&B singer Aaliyah once sang, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again”. No matter how many times you fail, trying again is always a possibility. The funny thing about failure is that you have the ability to let it define you or refine you. Often times, it’s not the failure that happens that define us; it’s the way we respond to it. Failure instills resilience and resiliency builds character.

By no means am I suggesting that you go looking for failure. Trust me, it will find us all at some point and when it does, I encourage you to not let the failure define you. Instead, let it grow you, teach you and strengthen you.

Define or Refine- You choose.  

Before I Go: Is this the first time we’ve met? If so, thanks for reading this article, share with a friend and I’d love to connect! I’m Cari Hawthorne, a proud Army veteran and HR professional who enjoys everything about helping others with their careers.

What have you learned from failing? I'd love to hear from you.