Failure – Friend or Foe?

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Hello, welcome back! How were you taught to look at failure? By taught, I mean how do the people who mattered most to you view failure?

I was taught that failure was evidence. Evidence that you’re doing the wrong thing; that you don’t have what it takes; that you should have played it safe instead of taking a risk; that you are different from the “successful” people and therefore can’t achieve what they can achieve.

Here’s what I’m learning at age 33. Failure is normal. It doesn’t define me unless I let the failure stop me.


In order to implement new ways of living, new habits, new career objectives, and new ways of being as a mother, wife, and friend…failure has to be ok. It has to be something that is a part of the process, not something I interpret as a signal that I should give up.

This new outlook on failure is a relief because I can’t get to where I want to be without failing from time to time. In fact, none of us can.

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

Another big lesson that is equally as important to me is – failure can be a great teacher. If I view it from that standpoint, I can learn a lot along the way. The lessons I learn can build and build until I finally reach my goals.

So what is failure? And what is success?

Our notions of both success and failure are as unique as our fingerprints. Are you living your life based on someone else’s notion of success? Are you checking all the boxes, meeting all the criteria and still miserable?
I was like that until about 2 years ago. I was meeting all the criteria for success that had been taught to me as a child. Yet, something felt wrong. I realized that I was meeting their idea of success but that my idea of success is completely different.
So what is success? Is it getting a job in an office, handling my toddler with patience, losing 10 pounds, investing in my friendships? Is it running faster and longer? Is it accomplishing more in a day? Or completing fewer tasks but honing in on what actually matters?
It’s time to define what success means to me. I’ll need to be ok if it’s different than what my family and friends think of as success. It has to be unique to me, where I am, and where I want to be. The work we do on ourselves, and in our careers, it won’t always be perfect. We are going to make mistakes. We will fail. But it’s what we do with the failure that matters. I’ve decided to turn this old enemy into a trusted friend.
What’s your definition of success? I’d love it if you’d share it with me!
Thank you for stopping by creating a skyscraper!
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