Failing with a Growth Mindset



“I am not failing — I am growing! Do you have the ability to reframe failures as growth in order to achieve your goals?” — Jim Collins


As we talked about previously, failing is inevitable. The question is how do you train your mind to see failures not as anchors that weigh you down, but as propellers that push you forward? How do you fail with a growth mindset and what does that even look like? I think the answer to these questions will ultimately determine how successful you will be.


Failing with a growth mindset is all about the lens through which you see your failure. I liken it to having the wrong glasses or contact subscription. If you have the wrong lenses for your eyes, what happens? Everything becomes hazy and unclear (plus you deal with an unruly number of headaches). If you have the wrong mental lens, you are not able to properly assess and understand your failures. Meaning, you won’t be able to view your failures as the steppingstones towards success that they really are. Instead, they become weights that not only drag you down but keep you down as well.


Ok… So now that you understand that failing with a growth mindset means changing your mental lens. How do you go about doing that and what does that look like?


First, you can start to change your mental lens by being thankful for each failure. Now, this might sound strange, but it will go a long way. Each time you fail, whether it’s a failed business or a school test, you should look at that failure and thank it. Why? Because it gave you advice. You are able to come out of that failure smarter than before. (How Lucky?!)


Secondly, changing your mental lens means taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture. This ties in nicely with the first step but takes it one step further. When you can take a step back and see the bigger picture, you set yourself free from believing that that one failure is the end all-be all. You realize that there is so much at work that you can’t even see or fathom.


Lastly, and this is of utmost importance, do not, under any circumstances, attach your failures to your self-image. Just because you failed does not make you a failure. Once you start labeling yourself as a failure, your mind will only see your shortcomings and that is a very dangerous place to be!


As Thomas Edison so famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” WOW! What a powerful lens. Remember, your failures are propellers pushing you forward not anchors holding you down.


ACTION STEP: The next time you fail, whether it’s in business or parenting, talk to your failure. Tell it that you are thankful for it; Take a step back and see the bigger picture realizing that there is so much going on that you can’t even grasp; Make sure you do not label yourself as a failure. You are a smart capable person who just became smart BECAUSE of your failure!