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Failure is Just a Chance to Pivot

Blog, Growth

December 9, 2017

In last week’s post, I shared three steps on how to overcome your fear and get on with your life. Now that you have moved through your fears, it’s time to work on failure. Every one of us fail at things. Whether it is a relationship, friendship, work expectation, maybe even a goal that is set for the day. I fail at something every single day. Some of my failures are small and others are huge.

I have goals and deadlines for projects to keep me on track. When I fail at meeting a deadline, then my goal of completion is pushed back. This may not sound like a failure to you. However, this can send me spinning and throw my week completely out of whack.

When I miss a deadline, my entire work timeline goes down the drain. I then have to take extra time, revisit the issue, and revamp my timeline. I failed and now I have to spend the time I don’t have to start over.

It’s all about how you see it

It feels horrible to fail, there is no way to make it seem positive when it’s not. My dad always said, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” This means you can’t make something pretty out of something ugly. However, I do have two options when I fail.

Option #1 is that I can beat myself up, feel bad and listen to my negative self-talk about how I do things. This option allows me to not be productive, want to give up on all of my current projects and can put me in a really bad mood. I spent many years doing this which affected my self-esteem and my relationships.

Option #2 is to view my failure as a pivot. This means that I need to stop and go in a different direction. I made one or many bad decisions along the way that caused me to miss my deadline. Whether it was poor time management, a decision to work on another project versus the current one, or another reason, I have to take a different direction. I need a clean slate with this project. Maybe I was going in the wrong direction or now isn’t the right time to move forward with it. I have to face this fact and know when to let go. If not I will stay stuck in a cycle. Once I realized that if I wanted a change I had to make different decisions. This allowed me to improve all areas of my life including relationships, work, and self-esteem.

How to make your pivot?

Have you failed at something you tried to do and felt stuck afterward? Think about your ability to pivot from this place. If it was a bad relationship, something you did wrong, or a goal that you didn’t accomplish, you are not stuck.

I’m grateful that I figured out how to pivot when I fail so that I was able to create the life I wanted. This process allowed me to make healthy decisions in relationships, work, and every area of my life. Here is how I turn failure into a pivot and you can too.

  1. Write down what you failed at.
  2. What were your behaviors, actions, and words that may have contributed to this failure?
  3. Were there any external factors that may have contributed to this failure? For example, a job layoff, medical diagnosis, or other issue that you had no control over.
  4. Are there any other areas you can take accountability for not meeting the goal you failed at?
  5. What can you do to find your pivot with this failure? Can you change directions? Can you start over in a different way?
  6. What opportunities do you see now that you didn’t when you started working toward your goal? What have you learned about yourself while you were trying to reach your goal that can help you pivot?
  7. Looking at all of your answers, what do you want to do now with this goal? Do you want a do-over or a restart with this goal? Do you want to scrap the whole goal? Do you want to change it so it becomes more achievable?

The only person in your way is you

This pivot process taught me that I can’t blame anyone or any situation for my failures. I do have the power to work through them and make new decisions. I hope that this process has helped you have better clarity about your goal, where you failed, and your opportunity to pivot.

You are in control of your life. You get to decide what happens next. You are the only person who can stop your forward progress. Get out of your own way and onto your next goal. Failure does not have the power to stop you.

Have you ever failed and made a pivot? How were you able to make the change you were looking for? What are your current goals that you are working on? Share them with me in the comment section below.

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A clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. From sex/intimacy, personal growth, and relationships, I am here to help you every step of the way.

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