8 Proven Ways to Find Success from Failure

While in consulting, I worked for a company that encouraged us to “Fail Fast” in all our projects. At first glance, the phrase “Fail Fast” doesn’t seem like a good thing. However, when I saw this process in action, I realized how failure is a part of success. 

Through my failures, I became more resilient and flexible, able to bounce back and adapt quickly. And with the right growth mindset, you can also find success from failure in your career and life.

white young woman working on laptop neutral expression

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How Failure is a Part of Success

Why failure makes us stronger?

Overcoming failure is a desirable skill and trait for all professionals and teams everywhere. While tracing how a plan or idea failed is important, what’s almost more or equally important is how you respond to the failure.

  • Does failure make you sulk and perform your other work poorly? 
  • Do you blame other people for the failure? 
  • Do you come up with a new plan of action immediately? 
  • Do you assess what went wrong first?

When it comes dealing with failure, it’s not about if but when you will experience it. But instead of fearing failure or spending energy trying to avoid it, you should recognize that failure makes you stronger.

Failure creates an opportunity for you to learn, assess plans and make adjustments, think creatively, and exercise critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

In other words, failure makes you stronger because you can learn every time you fail. You learn more about the problem you’re trying to solve. Additionally, you hone your skills as you think of new ways to solve the problem.

There are many other benefits of failure in life as a gateway to success. Here are 8 ways failure can help you find success in your career and life.

  1. Failure highlights what doesn’t work
  2. Failures build resiliency
  3. Failure leads to new experiences and opportunities
  4. Failure spurs creativity
  5. Failure pushes us to collaborate
  6. Failure means you haven’t given up
  7. Failure may hide a success
  8. Failure is a part of the process to success

1 – Failure Highlights What Doesn’t Work

There is important information that can come from failure. For example, a failure can teach you:

  • what doesn’t solve a problem, 
  • what a client doesn’t like, 
  • what isn’t an effective method to fix an issue, or 
  • how communication can hinder a team from progressing.  

These examples of failure in life all hold something in common. They highlight what doesn’t work in certain situations.

Yes, of course, life would be easier if we could skip the failures and go straight to the success. But often we narrow down the strategies that are more effective, and thereby successful, because of the failures.

2 – Failure Build Resiliency

Resiliency is defined as the capacity to withstand or recover quickly from difficulty. Some synonyms for resiliency are flexibility, toughness, strength, and “bouncebackability.”

Being a resilient team worker or employee is important for your career. It means you are flexible and can adjust and adapt quickly to the company’s different needs. 

If you’re resilient, you can think on your feet, are dependable, and have a “mental toughness” that allows you to persist when most people would give up.

But how do you develop resiliency? By experiencing failure. In order to increase your “bouncebackability”, you must overcome failure and deal with change. This applies both to failure in your career and failure in life.

For example, imagine you and a friend end up in an argument because of a communication failure. You can practice resiliency by reconciling with your friend and seeking out ways to improve communication instead of giving up on the relationship.

3 – Failure Allows New Experiences and Opportunities

Usually, when we fail, we fail at the things that are new to us or that we haven’t experienced before. Once I failed to communicate clearly with a stakeholder and it led to a headache later on when our project tried to launch training. 

Looking back, I am not glad that I failed, but I am glad that I wasn’t afraid to fail.

If I’d been afraid to mess up or fail, then I never would’ve taken the position as team leader. I never would have had 7 months of new opportunities and challenging experiences as I led a team for the first time. 

By opening yourself up to failure and getting out of your comfort zone, you also become open to a new host of opportunities and experiences. Creating personal work goals that test your limits and develop your skills often accelerate your career, too. 

On the other hand, fear of failure could hold you back from growth, from discovering a new passion, from learning a new skill, or from meeting new people.  

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

4 – Failure Spurs Creativity

In addition to new experiences and opportunities, failure also spurs creativity. When the obvious fixes no longer work or your first ideas tank, the next step is to approach the problem with creative problem solving.

Creative problem solving involves thinking outside the box, imagining things that haven’t been tried before, and allowing seemingly silly, impossible, or crazy ideas. 

In thinking about moving on from failure, one of my favorite quotes about failure from Albert Einstein comes to mind.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Relying on the same set of strategies or protocols when they lead to failure over and over again doesn’t have to be a dead end. It’s time to expand those strategies with something new and creative.

These working woman quotes offer more insights into challenging yourself at work and in life to reach success. 

5 – Failure Pushes Us to Collaborate

Success rarely happens in a vacuum. It takes multiple people working together, drawing on each other’s strengths, and utilizing each other’s expertise to develop a winning, successful strategy. 

After failures, we are often tempted to hide. We hide because we’re ashamed of mistakes we might have made which led to the failure. We hide because we don’t know how to ask for help and think we have to figure it out ourselves. 

However, both of these excuses come from a position of arrogance instead of confidence . In this instance, it’s better to seek out guidance from a mentor or brainstorm ideas with a colleague. Failures could turn into a success when multiple brains are working on a problem. 

With diverse experiences and perspectives to bring to the table, a team who collaborates can often solve a problem faster and more effectively than one person on their own. 

6 – Failure Means You Haven’t Given Up

This next reason for why failure is a part of success lies in your willingness and ability to perseverance. Perseverance is a desirable trait for employee, team members, coworkers, and even in your personal life. Someone who gives up as soon as things get difficult will never reach their full potential.

By perseverance, we will discover that we are capable of so much more. And even if it’s a bumpy ride to success, we’ll know that failure is part of the process. Borrowing another quote from Albert Einstein:

“You never fail until you stop trying.”

Albert Einstein

What do you think of this quote? Does it reframe your thoughts about failure? For me, it recategorizes failure as giving up on a problem and calling it quits. On the other hand, this leaves room in the definition of success for “persevering despite failures.” 

Because if true failure is when you throw in the towel, then you are succeeding as long as you keep trying.

7 – A Failure May Be a Hidden Success

Sometimes, we quickly call a situation a failure and move on only to discover that the failure is actually a hidden success.

For example, as a writer, I’m constantly writing down different ideas, scenarios, and dialogue bits for stories. In my last story, I cut a scene because I thought it failed to add tension and plot development for the overarching story.

However, when I had my critique partners read over it, they mentioned missing an important part of the relationship building for the two main characters in my manuscript. 

In responding to their comments, I provided the chapter that I had previously cut, thinking it was a failure. As it turned out, the scene had exactly the relationship and character development that the readers needed to follow the story. 

What I had called a failure had actually been a success. I just needed the perspective of others to be able to see the benefit that chapter brought to the story.

God also has a way of turning our personal failures into successes. But to see Him accomplish that, we have to trust His purpose and plan in each failure and success. 

If you’re feeling like a failure at your current job, remember that one job is not your entire career. Now is the time to seek God and ask Him why He’s placed you where you are now. What does he want you to learn? 

Also, remember that you are not your job. Your worth is not tied to your job title or your accomplishments. You are so much more than your work.

8 – You Find Success from Failure

As an economics PhD student, I’ve had to use more math and algebra than I probably did in undergrad and high school combined. And for about 1 out of every 10 problems, I find the solution on my first try.

The other 90% of the time, I fail first. I try math tricks that lead to dead ends. I rewrite the problem another way only to figure out it was simpler before. I use another concept to reason my way through only to discover that the model doesn’t hold in this situation.

But even with the failures, I still succeed. I turn in problem sets with more wrong answers than right, but then I work through the solutions. I learn the new concepts and stock my strategies with new tricks. Then, on the exam, I’m set up for success.

Each time I work out a problem, no matter how many times I fail first, I still succeed. Because I become a better problem solver and a better economist. 

Behind most (if not all) success, there are failures.

young white woman holding up tow test papers with A+ and F

In the same way, your failure is a part of success. And your failure is a part of the process that leads to your success. So, it’s up to you decide if you’re going to quit now or keep going. 

Who knows—the next time you try could lead to your next amazing success story? A success story that starts with how you found success from failure. Keep persevering!

How have you turned failure into success?

Leave me a comment below!

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