How to Embrace Failure to Achieve Success

Embrace failure to achieve success.jpg

Are you in an unfulfilling environment at work, school, or life in general? Often there are fears holding us back from achieving our dreams and happiness and for the most part, we're the ones holding ourselves back. In a technology thriving, social media focussed world, success seems to be our number 1 goal. But what does success really look like?

Many of us are too scared to take the risks necessary for success especially when there's a big chance of failure. Today we're going to let you in on why it's totally okay to fail and what you can do to embrace the dreaded f-word: "failure".

Types of fear

Fear of failure can impact you at different stages of your journey. Being aware of this is important as it helps you focus on how to overcome it and not be overwhelmed by it.

You might be wanting to create a website for your new business but it seems too daunting to start so you avoid it. Getting started is the hardest part, and if you don't - it will never happen! Alternatively, you might be playing it safe and not putting yourself out there by trying new things. Or, you might have started, but committing to your dream seems stupid and unattainable. This is where perseverance is key!

What type of fear is holding you back from being successful?

If you’re not about to fail, you’re not really creating
— Dan Barber from Chef's Table
Dan Barber - Chef & co-owner of  Blue Hill Farm  Restaurant in Manhattan. Image by  Brisan Ingredients

Dan Barber - Chef & co-owner of Blue Hill Farm Restaurant in Manhattan. Image by Brisan Ingredients

Why it's okay to fail

The most successful people fail more than they succeed.

Why? As the inspiring author Seth Godin writes, "they learn more from that failure than everyone else", and not accepting it as the final outcome challenges us to try different approaches until they reach success.

Angela Duckworth, writer of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance states that failure is not a permanent condition and should be embraced as a tool to help us learn more and advance our skills. Failure allows us to succeed!

Angela Duckworth - Author of 'Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance' Image by  Lionesses of Africa

Angela Duckworth - Author of 'Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance' Image by Lionesses of Africa

Break it down

Make a list of all the things you want to achieve and then break each into a smaller, practical goal. This will make it easier to achieve big goals in the long term and not feel overwhelmed by achieving everything all at once.

Everything is made possible by following a series of steps that lead you on the path to where you need to be. 

Find a support network

A great way of overcoming fear is to find people who are in the same boat as you. Maybe you're feeling frustrated, lost and un-motivated because your friends or family can't relate or understand. Finding a support network of like-minded people who are going through or have gone through the same process as you is really important! It reassures you that you're not alone and people in your situation have persevered and succeeded. You can ask each other questions or advice which will boost your learning.

Contacting other small businesses through their social media pages, or reading about successful creative entrepreneurs (which you can find on various online platforms including The Collective Hub or our own Real Stories series) is a great way to feel included in the community and get inspired!

There are also some great creative entrepreneurial events and online group in your local area which you can join, such as Kick Start Smart or Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine. It's a great way to network in the industry - you never know what opportunities could arise down the track!

Forgive yourself

Don't be too hard on yourself if things don't go the way you expect! Knowing your limits, abilities and skills is an important asset to challenge yourself with. At the end of the day, we're only human and we can't control everything that comes our way! There are always things to improve so that you can become confident in your abilities and increase what you bring to the table. Being kind to yourself is as important as learning your craft.

Exercise frequently

Are you paying for a gym membership that you never use? Don't let it go to waste! Exercising can help supercharge your productivity as it releases positive endorphins, giving your more energy to focus. Staring at your laptop all day doesn't neccessarily mean that you will get a lot of work done! It can leave you feeling tired, restless and unmotivated. Allocating time for breaks and doing 30 mins of exercise a day is all it takes to make you more alert and ready to tackle your next project - so get moving!


If things don't work out the first or second or even third time, don't give up! Keep at it!

If anything, perseverance is the most important tool you can use to achieve success.

Time management

It's important to not only take breaks for exercising, but to take breaks for relaxing and doing things that you enjoy. This could be anything from playing an instrument, drawing, gardening etc. Starting a new business can take up a lot of your spare time - especially if you're juggling another job! But it's important not to spend ALL of your spare time on it or you can easily burn out.

Trying to maintain a healthy balance between work, your social life and hobbies can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Working out your priorities can be beneficial and help you manage your time more effectively.

So whether you're having trouble getting started, playing it safe or having trouble persevering - we all struggle with overcoming fear, it's not just you! Remember you're not alone.

Realising what your fear is and what's causing it can help you to tackle it head on and overcome it.

Even the most successful people have failed at some stage (via Inc):

  1. The greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school team.
  2. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper early in his career - they said he lacked imagination.
  3. Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school three times.
  4. John Grisham's first book, "A Time to Kill", was rejected twenty-eight times.
  5. Albert Einstein had the label "mentally slow" put on his permanent school record.
  6. Henry Ford's first two automobile companies failed.
  7. Oprah Winfrey was fired from an early job as a television news anchor.
  8. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage in his first stand-up comedy appearance.
  9. Sir James Dyson suffered through 5,126 failed prototypes before he landed on the first working Dyson vacuum.
  10. Elvis Presley was fired from the Grand Ole Opry and was told to go back to truck driving.
  11. Colonel Harland Sanders of KFC fame was rejected over 1000 times before finding a franchise partner.

All of these people have learnt from their failure and used it to succeed - and you can too!

Get inspired! Check out this inspirational failure video created by Will Smith - "Fail early, fail often, fail forward."

Image of Will Smith by  Getty Images

Image of Will Smith by Getty Images