Failure is Good — As Long as You Learn from It

I always tell my career mentoring clients that success is hardly ever permanent and that failure is seldom fatal.

Failure has actually become kind of cool lately.  There’s actually a conference called FailCon.  It’s devoted to giving startup founders a place to study their own and others’ failures to help them prepare for success.   The logic behind FailCon is simple.  Failure can be an intense form of hands-on education that — when done right — enables you to learn and grow.

This article delves into how failure can lead to your success.

I agree that failure can be a springboard to success.  Tweet 36 in Success Tweets says “Don’t be afraid to fail. You fail only if you don’t learn something from the experience. Treat every failure as an opportunity to grow.”

Fear of failure is the enemy of self-confidence – and career success. Most people fear failure. It’s only normal. We all want to feel good about ourselves. Failure is not a pleasant experiences. It can your self-esteem and make you feel bad about yourself, so many people avoid doing things that they think might lead to failure. However, if you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, you have to have the courage to do things that might result in failure.

Failure provides you with the opportunity to grow and develop – to succeed. You can’t take it personally. Failure is  an outcome. It is a result of things you have done. It is not who you are. We all make mistakes and fail. We all do things that cause others to criticize or reject us. This doesn’t mean that we are failures. It means that we have made some poor choices and done some not-so-smart things.

Failure provides the opportunity to start over – hopefully a little smarter. Buckminster Fuller once said, “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through mistakes.”

That’s why fear of failure is the enemy of self-confidence and career success.  If your fear of failure paralyzes you to the point where you aren’t willing to take calculated risks, you’ll never learn anything or accomplish any of your goals.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail.  Put your energy into figuring out why you failed and then do something different. Here are four questions to ask yourself the next time you fail.

  1. Why did I fail?  What did I do to cause the failure?
  2. What could I have done to prevent the failure?
  3. What have I learned from this situation?
  4. What will I do differently the next time?

If you do this, you’ll be using failure t o your advantage. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” I know it’s hard to see the benefit or opportunity in failure. But it’s there – you just have to look hard enough. But it all begins by facing your fear and acting. The less you fear failure, the more career success you’ll create.

Choose to find – and use – the learning opportunity in your failures and you will become more self-confident and successful. It’s sad but true – failure often is the price you pay for becoming a career success. Facing your fear of failure and acting will pay big dividends when it comes to your life and career success.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can join thousands of success minded professionals who are benefiting from the advice in Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  Simply go to and enter your contact information.  I’ll send you both books for free.  I’ll also give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site and begin sending you daily motivational quotes.



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  1. How am i suppose to answer these questions when I DONT KNOW!!!

  2. Anna:
    If you really don’t know the answer to these questions…
    Why did I fail? What did I do to cause the failure?
    What could I have done to prevent the failure?
    What have I learned from this situation?
    What will I do differently the next time?
    …when you analyze your failures and setbacks, I suggest that you take some time to really think about them. Be honest with yourself.
    All the best,

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