Finding success through failure

Posted January 21

For a woman, wife and/or mother, failure is part of the life package deal. But food for thought: What we experience — or perceive — as failure can often be a springboard to future success. Consider a few thoughts on turning the failure Titanic around.

1. Failure brings benefits. Maybe you lost your job, your child's grades were failing, or you were in charge of a big project and it bombed. Whatever. Failure is going to happen, period. It's what we do with it and how we approach it that counts.

A buzzword these days is “grit” and how vital it is to our children and their well-being. Bouncing back from failure gives us resilience. And happily, the more we experience failure with the approach of how to make it into a success, the more it becomes a reality.

From a Forbes article on this topic by Davia Temin: “Resilience is a concept that exists in almost every culture around the world: the ability to bounce back from adversity, from whatever setbacks life deals you, in order to come back and conquer another day.”

2. Failure brings focus. When an experience, project or situation goes south, it also allows us to clarify what isn’t working, and what to focus our attention on next time.

As J.K. Rowling said in her Harvard commencement speech, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure”:

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.”

Look at what you’ve learned and how to now apply it to a future situation. That is pure success gold.

3. Failure compels you to connect. Wisdom comes from experience if we allow ourselves to be safely, wisely open to learning from others. Especially as women, we can commiserate or get clarity or just sob together. A bond of understanding often gives the needed mojo to keep going. And we learn tools — what others have found to be tried and true, while avoiding more potential stress.

Recently, 25 women who had experienced failure — from everyday fails to incredible heartbreak — did this very thing. These women had faced anything from having everyday parenting fails to being a reformed drunk mother of five to surviving childhood prostitution. They connected, decided to share their experiences, wrote a book and then created a conference called The Success Summit.

Shaking off any badge of shame, they chose to learn from each others’ lives. As we do the same, we can receive compassion, connection and usable tools to better deal with our own.

Failure is not an option; it’s inevitable. Try one of these tools to turn it into a stellar success.

Connie Sokol is an author, presenter, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at


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