Greater Peoria Metro Area, IL

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From Failure to Success


By Liz Pollack, MS, ACPEC

As children we were naturally curious and eager to try new things. We didn’t waste time worrying about what didn’t work; instead we quickly moved on and tried something else. As we grew up, we learned that failure brings ridicule and shame. It’s just plain unacceptable, and we do whatever we can to avoid it. In so doing, we miss opportunities to succeed. In truth, failure is a necessary step in learning and growing. In fact, we have to learn to fail in order to succeed. Success and failure are defined by our own mind; which means that instead of viewing failure as something to be avoided, we can turn it into a stepping stone and use it to succeed. I can’t think of a single successful person who didn’t encounter some significant failures along the way, and I bet you can’t either.

So how does one use failure as a tool for success? It’s all about changing how you view failure and value the opinions of others.

• Remember to keep your ego in check. Sometimes we make decisions that are detrimental to our success in the name of fear. We fear rejection, shame, and all the other emotions that damage our egos. A good beating down of our ego can be helpful. We need to be able to admit when we don’t know something or are wrong and learn from our mistakes.

• Remember you can bounce back. Failure builds our resiliency and shows us the strength we really have. We are able to rethink, reconsider, and find new methods and approaches in order to achieve our goals. Failing and bouncing back has led to many inventions and methods that have advanced society and individuals. Nothing brings us closer to success than failure. We are able to rule out ways that don’t work which brings us closer to ways that do work.

• Remember you are not a failure; something you tried failed. It’s not personal. It doesn’t define us. We can’t let the fears and negativity of others determine how we see ourselves or our success. Use your own values to measure yourself and get back on track. If others want to be negative and judgmental, let them; you want success!

• Remember a failure is actually a badge of honor. It makes the success that much sweeter. It shows us that we endured and eventually triumphed. It shows us that we can accomplish our goals as long as we push through and keep our eye on the ball. If nothing else it proves we did something; we took control of our success.

• Remember to intentionally increase your failure rate. This may sound strange, but it works! The more we fail, the more we succeed. We could even set goals for the number of times we fail! Instead of letting failure have a negative hold on us, we could buy ourselves an ice cream cone and say, “I’m one step closer to success!”

Are you trying to cope with change? Need some assistance — everyone does! Liz Pollack, MS, ACPEC, is a Certified Life Coach and owns Leg Up Services. For more information, call 309-370-4492 or visit

Photo credit: Mark Airs/Thinkstock