7 Steps To Turn ‘Failure’ Into Success

"Glitch" courtesy of Luiza O.S @Flickr

Chances are you've got success on the brain if you're reading this article.  You've set your goals, you're on your way to achieving your dreams.  But they're not coming as fast as you would like.  You're ready for it to all come true right now.  You set a deadline to reach your goal, but it just didn't happen in that timeframe.  And now you feel a little deflated.  Maybe you've even allowed a little doubt to creep in, as you're not sure when (or if) it will ever happen.

You know what a missed deadline tells you?
It's just a feedback mechanism to tell you that your plans and execution of them weren't correct for the timeline you set.  You're not a failure.  You've just produced a result.  It may not be the result you wanted, but don't fret, because sometimes our greatest lessons come from when we get what we didn't want.  Maybe the deadline was too tight.  Maybe your plans weren't sound.

You're not the only one to not reach a goal or hit a bump in the road.
Michael Jordan didn't make his high school basketball team.  Famous author J.K. Rowling was living on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book, the start of a series that went on to make her spectacularly rich.

So what do the champions do during the process of making their dreams come true?


    1. Grin and bear it.  You probably didn't want to hear this.  You want to hear me say "you can have it all right now."  Sorry, good self help isn't like a fast food restaurant slogan.  Sometimes there will be times when your energy levels are off or something else happens in your life forcing you to put your dreams on hold for a just a bit.  It's for those challenging times that you have to do your best and tackle all the challenges in front of you.  Yes, you'll have failures along the way but when Michael Jordan he bore the rejection by practicing even more.


    1. Take a time-out. You're saying, "what do you mean relax?  How can I relax when I've done everything I can and my dreams still aren't coming true."  Remember, throughout history, the great men and women who changed our world have found their greatest ideas when they were away from their usual routines.  For instance, when he was a teenager, Albert Einstein spent some time in Italy with his parents enjoying the beauty of Italy's Apennine mountains.  It was during this time he contemplated what would happen if a ray of light became imprisoned.  This idea was to be the foundation of his life's work.  So relax.  You never when the idea you need to bridge the gap between your current reality and your dreams will be found.  But sometimes you need to give yourself the space to find it.


    1. Assess whether your current plans are realistic. If you've got 4 kids, a full-time job, and a mortgage, it may be hard to start your own business on the side and have it succeed within a month.  Maybe your dreams aren't coming true by the deadlines you set because your deadlines were unrealistic to begin with.   So make new plans and get underway!


    1. Get support. If you're starting your own business, is there someone you know who's been down this road who can give you some advice?  Or, if you're trying to fix your life in some way – overcoming an addiction, healing from a painful past, or getting over an ex-lover – maybe you should consider getting a therapist.  Often times, having a sounding board and a supportive ear can make us feel better and even more motivated to recommit to achieving our goals.


    1. Play a game called "15 Ways…" This is a little game I like to play whenever I get stuck on how to break through barriers in achieving goals.  Grab a sheet of paper and brainstorm 15 ways you can overcome whatever obstacle is standing in between you and your goals.  For instance, if you feel it's a lack of time, then brainstorm 15 ways you can create more time in your life.  I like using the number fifteen because I find the first five are usually pretty obvious, but the next 10 are usually a bit harder to come up with.  These are where the novel solutions you didn't think about usually reveal themselves.


    1. Pick a hero.  Who in your mind is a noteworthy person you would like to emulate in life?  Are they extremely motivated?  Did they overcome tremendous odds to get where they are today?  Tack a picture of them on your wall.  Everytime you feel like it's too hard or you just can't do it, learn to ask yourself what your hero would do.  Now go do it.


  1. Go out and execute every day. If you're done with your time out, then commit to doing one thing for your dreams everyday, no matter how small it is.  Taking action keeps you motivated and gives you momentum in achieving your goals.  Well-worn clichés like "genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration" still hold water today.

A missed deadline is just a chance for growth.  And it makes for a great story about how you overcame obstacles along the way. Every success story has them.  So why shouldn't you?

Are you a child abuse survivor wondering why you're unhappy?  Then get this free report, Why Are You Unhappy? (How To Create Happiness Through Friendship If You're An Abuse Survivor), written especially for child abuse survivors trying to create happiness in their lives.

Adam Appleson is the founder of ZenTactics, a website that helps abuse survivors develop practical personal development skills with articles like One of the Best Free Natural Remedies for Depression That You Can Do In 10 Minutes Or Less.

18 Responses to 7 Steps To Turn ‘Failure’ Into Success

  1. Sid Savara says:

    Hey Adam,

    For me, the key is this:

    “Go out and execute every day.”

    I always reminds myself, if I’m not out there giving it everything I’ve got and executing – there’s someone else out there who wants it more than me who is willing to get out there, put in the long hours and execute.

    Always gets me fired up, (or at least, fired up enough) to get out there and give it my best

  2. Farouk says:

    i like the idea of the post Adam, failure is a just feedback nothing more , keep it up:)

  3. Hi Adam!

    So true. Lot of good points here.

    I would add that the “hero” or “heroine” can even be a fictional character or one about which we have no absolute evidence that the person actually existed.

    Aristotle Onassis considered Odysseus his hero and emulated the traits of this heroic figure of the Iliad and the Odyssey. This figure inspired him over his lifetime even though we may never know for sure if such a personage ever existed or all that was attributed to him was actual fact.

  4. Adam says:

    Hi Sid,

    Thanks for the support :) -Adam

  5. Adam says:

    Hi Farouk,

    I came across your website before and I thought you had a great success story on your about page. So I really appreciate the kind words! -Adam

  6. Adam says:

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for sharing this interesting fact. I never knew that. -Adam

  7. “15 Ways” game is a good idea.

    If you can’t come up with 15, because our brain shuts down under pressure and limits itself to 2 to 3 obvious options, you may need to do some lateral think.

    then, this can help


  8. Craig Thomas says:

    Nice post. The 25 ways game if new for me and rather interesting. Thanks for that.

  9. Kim McGinnis says:

    Adam-this is a fabulous article-thank you! I particularly like #2. I really appreciate ‘taking time out’ because it is something I found almost impossible to do when I was younger. I used to work so hard that I was constantly stressed and rarely at peace. I recently read a book by Andy Feld called,’Wake Up! Your Life is Calling.’ Part of the way the author takes his time out is through an inward practice of meditation-and it makes so much sense! We spend so much time focused on the outside -how to get the car, the new shoes, the new house, etc…, but if when we spend more time focusing inward our values become more aligned with what will makes us happy and feel successful in the longterm.
    thanks for listening,

  10. I totally agree with you about taking a time out from your work now and again. When you want something bad enough, this is hard to do, since you just want to get on with it!

    Still, time out from that which you are passionate about is vital. The passion might fade otherwise. Why jeoparize the things you love by overdoing them?

    Thanks for the read!

    Much Love


  11. Adam says:

    Your welcome Craig, thanks for stopping by.

  12. Adam says:

    Hi Kim,

    I hadn’t heard of that book before. I’ll have to check it out. I’m with you on how the space allows us to focus on what will make us happy in the long term. Of course, I still have challenges in this area too :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  13. Adam says:

    Thanks Sam, I appreciate the comment and your support.

  14. Andy Feld says:

    Thanks Kim and Adam. Years ago early in my corporate career I arrived at my office each day with what might best be described as “a grim wall street mentality” I strongly believed that success was determined by precise goal setting and lots and lots of hard work. Well, at the time my compnay was barely profitable, my relationship life was a mess, and I didn’t smile as often as I would like. What I finally learned is that at any given moment we are the sum of our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions and unless these four elements are exactly lined up with our desires manifestation will be quite difficult. Looking to change your course in life and work, then change your thoughts, emotions, words, and actions. Yes, takes lots of practice, willpower and self-discipline, but well worth the effort. Thanks to all contributing. Andy

  15. I find keeping a journal to be an invaluable tool. It allows you to clarify your thoughts and make the most out of your experiences.

  16. Adam says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing.


  17. Adam says:

    Your welcome Andy, and thank you for sharing and writing your book. Adam

  18. prom gowns says:

    really?ok,i will try!

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