A young woman in a garden opening a champagne bottle. It sprays in her face.

Have you ever celebrated a failure?

If YES, congratulations then! You're one of the lucky people who've had the opportunity to be part of a community that embraces what we now call a growth mindset.

If NOT, don't despair! The good news is that change can start with you — just like it started with me when I realized I'd spent my entire life avoiding failure and fearing mistakes.

It took me going through my teenage years, college, and my first jobs to truly understand that the following steps are crucial.

Embrace Failure as an Opportunity

Embracing mistakes while setting intentional goals goes beyond school or work. I've faced rejection in romantic relationships and been through breakups.

I've also encountered misunderstandings and conflicts with close friends that strained our relationship, sometimes for extended periods of time.

These are just a few examples of the failures I've encountered at various stages of my life. However, I'm grateful for each and every one of them!

Cher singing,

Instead of viewing failure as a negative outcome, you can:

  • Reframe failure as a learning experience and a chance for growth.

  • View failure as an opportunity to gather valuable feedback and identify areas for improvement.

  • Recognize that failure is a natural part of life and doesn't define your worth or potential.

Lord of the Rings character Boromir saying,


Sarah has been working on a class project for weeks, but it didn't turn out as she expected. She feels disappointed and discouraged. What should Sarah do?

Cultivate a Mindset of Growth and Self-Compassion

A person unwrapping a gift to themself: the gift is self compassion.

Note to my younger self: failing that important exam in college or not achieving the desired grades (despite putting in effort) does not make you a worthless person!

Try this:

  • Recognize the power of mindset and how it influences your perception and response to failure.

  • Believe that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and learning.

  • Cultivate self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding, offering the same support you would give to a friend.

Focusing on the Process and Seek Feedback

The other side of my note to my younger self: making a mistake on a project at work or receiving critical feedback from a supervisor doesn't make you a worthless person either!

When things don't go your way, you could:

  • Shift your focus from solely outcome-oriented goals to embracing the process of learning and improvement.

  • Celebrate small wins and recognize the efforts you put in, irrespective of the outcome.

  • Actively seek feedback from mentors, peers, or experts to gain valuable insights and identify areas for growth.

Person holds up a sign that says,


Sarah is working on another challenging project. She encounters some setbacks along the way. How can she best approach these challenges to foster personal growth and development? Select all that apply.

Take Action

Remember, dealing with failure while adopting a growth mindset is an ongoing journey. It takes time and practice to rewire your thinking patterns, but the effort is worth it.

Seagull flying over the sea Photo by Anthony Rao on Unsplash

Just keep in mind to:


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