The first job I was fired from happened early on in my architectural career.  It was, in fact, about 8 months after completing my undergraduate degree, not exactly stellar for the beginning of a new career.  I vividly remember that feeling of failure.  Who loses a job that quickly! I had a great deal of self doubt about the choice of my profession at the time because of this feeling and began second guessing my goals.  Gratefully, I was able to take a step back to evaluate pro’s and con’s in the firing.  I was shocked by the fact that absolutely everything was a pro, I couldn’t come up with one con.  I never really enjoyed that job position so it was  difficult to give it my full attention, and there was very little growth there, I’d had a great education and internship.   To remain in the job would have set my career back.  Failing….or being fired, opened my eyes to a new found awareness of what my true passion was. I brushed up my resume and worked on some additional skills I needed and quickly found a fabulous job that jump started my career in  Architectural Design.  Being fired did not define me as a failure, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and into a position that I was much better suited for.

“Failure” is a word that for most conjures up negative feelings and something that should be avoided at all cost.  Many individuals feel the world offers a black and white environment…things are either good or bad, right or wrong and you either fail or succeed.  The truth, however, is that life is full of learning moments often mistaken for “failures” rather than nuggets of opportunity provided to work on oneself.  Most successful people fail at consecutive attempts of whatever they’re attempting, like starting a business, using what they learned each time they fail at an attempt to make the changes necessary before figuring out where their success lies.  Successful people use what they learn from their “failures” to achieve higher goals.  Here are a few pointers of how to utilize your failures to find your own successes!

#1. What can you learn from your failures?

When things don’t go the way you anticipate or believe they should, remember, this is just a story in your head so don’t define this as failure.  What it could be is a learning or education tool that can be used to your advantage. Take the opportunity to pull back emotionally and consider what you may learn from the perceived failure.  Did it give you ideas of what NOT to do or open up an idea for a new path or way of seeing things?  Einstein taught that you cannot solve problems using the same level of thinking used to create them.  If something didn’t work the first time, it is usually indicating there is change that needs to happen.  If your relationships fall flat over and over again, perhaps it’s not them, it’s you…so what changes do you need to make in your life to attract the right person for you?  If you continually fall flat at some aspect in your career, do you proceed with what you’re doing and hope something will eventually go your way, or do you educate yourself and work at it in a new way each time until you find that level of success you’ve been looking for? You can learn from each and every failure.

#2. Pay attention to what’s not working for you

Most of us don’t enjoy being reminded of what doesn’t work for us, yet forgetting our failures may lead us to doing the same thing over and over again.  Using a journal and talking through what didn’t work with someone you trust, can be an excellent way of processing your thoughts and turning them into something effective for change.  Accepting your failures as a lesson can give you a positive spin on life and perhaps prevent you from wallowing in your negative thoughts.  Failures mean you are fully alive and engaged in life. It’s learning what doesn’t work and making adjustments that leads to successful outcomes.  Look at Tiger Woods.  Many had given up hope he would ever win another PGA Championship, and on his level of play his losses would have been considered failures. Tiger kept at it, continually working on his game, learning from every stroke he hit.  He said he was going to win this next Championship, and he did.  He’d learned what wasn’t working for him and made the necessary changes that brought him that victory.

#3.  Failure = Growth

If there’s no failure in your life it could mean you’re keeping your life at status quo, which in turn usually indicates there is no growth. 

FAILURE = GROWTH! It means there is movement, learning, opportunity, and that you have courage to try something new. It means you have a greater chance of finding success in your life, and that your life has no room for apathy.  Those who try more have the chance at greater possibility in life.  Being brave with your life means you WILL absolutely experience failure in your life…but you will EXPERIENCE life.  Be brave, be courageous, be vulnerable, seek for the difficult things in life that bring you the greatest success.

Btw, I was never fired from another job…I’m not exactly certain that’s a good thing.