There are many health benefits of reframing failure. You hear a lot about transforming failures into successes in the business and leadership world, but all too often, the health benefits of getting good at this skill are lost.
The health benefits of reframing failure are linked to reducing stress, preventing anxiety and depression, increasing self-esteem, and building self-confidence. These are the very cornerstones of health and wellness.
Reframing any type of failure is a healthy practice. And if your failure is directly related to a health-related concern, like a lifestyle change that’s just not working for you, or an addiction relapse, for example, you can enhance your ability to get your health back on track by shifting how you think.
Failure is a perception.
We tend to think of failure as something shameful or undesirable. So, it’s logical that failing to achieve a goal can bring on negative feelings. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Failure is a perception, which means it can be altered by a mindset shift.
One of the best ways to overcome the feelings of loss and insignificance that can wash over us after we fail to meet a goal is by shifting our understanding of the failure or reframing it. For example, you might begin to equate “failure” with “learning experience.” Ask yourself what you know now, after the failure, that you didn’t know before.
This allows you to enter a state of acceptance where you can recognize success as a process of growth that naturally includes failure. From this place of acceptance, you can begin to think and speak about the failure differently.
3 Steps to Learning From Failure
Failure provides valuable lessons if we know how to learn from it. There are at least three steps to learning effectively from failure.
First, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learning from your mistakes is about so much more than simply thinking about what went wrong. The first step toward reframing failure as success is to stop seeing mistakes as shameful, undesirable, bad, or negative.
Second, think about how you think about it. Failures and mistakes are a natural part of embarking on any new project and are also part of the human experience. A such, failures should be accepted and embraced as necessary steps towards achieving your goals. Thinking of your “failure” as a learning experience can be a valuable way to reframe the concept.
Third, debrief. Ask yourself was the failure preventable? What do you need to do to avoid similar mistakes in the future? What and how might this failure help you improve?
Debrief with someone you trust.
In many cases, debriefing or discussing the failure with someone you trust can help you see the situation from a different perspective. Rely on your support network to pinpoint what went wrong and how you could prevent it in the future. Let’s look at each of the debriefing questions individually:
- Was this failure preventable? Preventable failures are easy to label as “bad.” They result from a lack of focus or attention to the procedures needed to achieve the goal. If you deem a failure preventable, perhaps the procedures need to be revised.
- What do I need to do or have to avoid failures like this in the future? Failures can happen when the goal depends on many factors including your motivation, your skills, your environment, your support network, and the resources you have at your disposal. If any of the input variables are inadequate, it may be impossible to achieve the desired outcome. Consider that the failure of a variable within a system is not the same as a failure of your self, overall.
- How might this failure help me improve? Sales executives know that the freedom to make mistakes, deal with rejections and objections, and experiment increases creativity and work performance. Without unnecessary pressures to avoid mistakes, you can develop and implement more original ideas. Remember that many great inventions in human history were discovered by accident…in spite of “failure.”
Whatever it takes, do your best to neutralize any negative feelings around the circumstances of the “failure” and welcome this source of new knowledge into your life.
When you can examine a mistake without judgment, analyze the circumstances that brought you into the situation where the mistake was made. Is it possible that your goal changed? Did you have distractions that were unavoidable? If your answer is yes, look for the root cause of the unconscious goal change or distraction. By identifying the internal and external causes that affected your resolve on the way to achieving the goal, you can prepare for encountering them in future circumstances.
Simply identifying what caused the mistake in the first place will not be enough to prevent similar mistakes in the future. You’ll need to take action to prevent the mistake from happening again.
The information you gather from your analysis will help you reassess and re-imagine your goals to make them more realistic. Be willing to adjust the scope of your project or reset the time frame for your goals as needed. And most of all, trust the process.
In summary, failure is a perception. It is not a permanent state of being, but part of a dynamic growth process. It is helpful to think of failure as a learning experience. By accepting failure, analyzing its root causes, and reframing your perception of it, you’ll be able to fulfill your health goals more easily. You’ll also avoid the stress-related health backlash that stems from recurrent harsh negative self-talk after a mistake happens. When you reframe failure as part of the learning process you are, in essence, giving yourself permission to be creative. Great new things can happen when you adopt a creative, innovative, and experimental mindset.Failure is not a permanent state of being, but a learning experience.Click To Tweet
How do you plan to reframe future failures? How will this improve your health?
Last updated 6-27-2020