While it may sound counter-intuitive, a failure is not admitting defeat. However, you can turn failure into victory by taking a little grit, determination, and a take charge attitude to find it. So, how can you harness failure and use it to make yourself stronger and a more competent person?
Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time, was devastated when he was cut from his high school varsity basketball team his sophomore year. But, good thing, he was inspired to turn failure into victory by working harder.
Here’s what he said about the experience:
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Turn Failure into Victory
Defeat is an opportunity to learn something and become an expert that no other person can experience like you. Sure, others fail too, but one experience will never be the same as the next. No matter how similar. It will always be different depending on who is experiencing it. This is a valuable gift to learn from and use as you continue to grow and live.
No one wanted to hire Walt Disney as an artist. He couldn’t get hired elsewhere either. So, his brother got him a temporary job. However, Walt’s first animation studio went bankrupt. He went on to found The Walt Disney Company, which had $50.1 billion revenue in 2017. That’s only one example of how to turn failure into victory.
If you took the leap and feel you’ve failed, here are three steps to consider:
Step 1: Turn Failure Into Victory by Building on Weaknesses and Playing to Your Strengths
First, the most important thing is to find the areas that went wrong. If you see where you went wrong, then you can use it to practice and get better. Defeat lays all your best and your worst assets in the open. “What can I do better next time?”
Examining your weaknesses can be uncomfortable. But you can take your weaknesses out of the equation and hone them to be more manageable. The more you work at self-improvement, the better you will become over time. This clarity is only achievable through defeat.
Mary Kay Ash sold books door to door while her husband served in the military. When her husband returned from duty, they divorced. Ash was left with three children at a time when divorce wasn’t acceptable.
Ash worked her way up to a top sales professional but was frustrated when passed over for a promotion because she was a woman. So, she and her second husband planned a business, Mary Kay Cosmetics. One month before launch, her husband died. However, with a $5,000 investment from her oldest son, Ash went on to launch her business. She proved that she could turn failure into victory, and in 2014 Forbes reported Mary Kay Cosmetics with revenues of over $3.5 billion.
Step 2: Optimize Your Strategy and Skills
Defeat provides you with vital information. Defeat is showing you that the strategies you were using may not be right for you. Now you know exactly where to start to improve. Embracing failure increases your awareness of your strengths. You can then cultivate them to be successful. If you’re not good at business principles but have other talents, then you can surround yourself with those that can educate you. Using new approaches and welcoming opportunities, you can turn failure into victory.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job co-anchoring the 6 pm news at Baltimore’s WJZ. They said she was too emotional. But since they didn’t want to pay out the contract, they put her on a talk show in Baltimore. And the moment she sat down on that show, she felt like she’d come home. She realized that TV could be more than just a playground, but a platform for service, for helping other people improve their lives. And that’s where everything that followed for her began.
“When you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, it feels right, and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you’re getting paid.”
Step 3: Come Back Stronger
Failure is scary. So scary that it stops you from following their dreams or setting higher goals. Or, maybe you will realize that failing is not so bad. Life goes on, and you know you can perform better in the future because you have found your strengths. One defeat doesn’t derail you from your ultimate ambitions it can be quite the opposite. Such an experience can strengthen you. You can come out wiser, more resilient.
So, break out of the pattern of paralysis and leap toward that goal. Embrace your failures and use them to make yourself more tenacious than you ever thought possible. Remember, a defeat Is only damaging if you let it be. You can turn failure into victory by changing your strategy.
Jack Canfield was rejected 144 times before finding a publisher for his book, Chicken Soup for the Soul. When Jack told the publisher he wanted to sell 1.5 million books in the first 18 months, the publisher laughed and said he’d be lucky to sell 20,000.
Ultimately, that first book sold more than 8 million copies in America and 10 million copies around the world. Canfield’s book brand is now a $1 Billion brand.
Canfield declared. “So, the reality is that you just have to say, ‘I’m more committed to my vision than I’m committed to your doubt or my fear,’ and just go for it…”
Defeat is something you can get over. It’s not in your DNA because defeat makes you stronger and more capable of victory. Perfectionism is very misleading. As humans, we’re not perfect, and embracing that makes us stronger.
As you can see, defeats don’t have to be as life-shattering as they may seem or feel. Get back on your feet, find what you are missing and what lessons you need to learn from it. Then come back stronger the next time. A defeat is only a defeat if you let it keep you down.
Use it as motivation to be and do better every time. You already know what it’s like to fail too. You know it is not as bad as it once seemed. Now you can use that energy to turn failure into victory, shine and thrive like you never have before. Often, letting yourself fail or experience loss is the best way to eliminate the fear holding you back from being your best self.
Failure can be a great asset if you know how to make the most of it.
I am Shirley Noah, an internationally known stress expert and entrepreneur. I would love to connect further with you to help you improve your health and well-being. Please take a look at How to Optimize Your Self-Talk.