Why it’s okay to fall flat on your face

Posted by rachelfoord on November 19, 2019

who it is ok to fail

Brace yourself for oodles of the f-word. Dirty, rotten, stinking FAILURE.

It’s a funny thing, failure. For a start, it’s not actually funny – when it happens to ourselves, that is. Given a choice, we prefer success to failure, any day of the week.

So who the heck are the succeeders? The people who get up, dust themselves off and try again; the mover and shakers; the dogs of determination.

You are those people! Remember learning to walk? No? Then let us remind you. First you became really ace at shuffling on your bottom. You could really travel. Your mum would put you in the lounge and by the time she’d made a cup of tea you were away, down the street, two-cheek shuffling to Sainsbury’s.

But you looked around at the adults and they didn’t shuffle, they walked on their feet. So you thought you’d have a go. They can do it, so it can’t be that difficult. You grabbed the settee and hauled yourself up. Steady now. And you were off. Except you weren’t. Good job your botty was padded.

But you didn’t sit there feeling sorry for yourself. You didn’t think, ‘This walking malarkey, it’s not really my thing. I’m gonna shuffle on my botty till I’m 24.’

Nope. You were determined. You wanted it badly. You failed 1000 times and then, one day, it happened. It wasn’t pretty but you managed to stagger the whole length of the lounge with legs as stiff as a zombie, and, best of all, everyone applauded.

Our ability to genuinely succeed is all about maintaining a sustained considered effort; cultivating the drive, determination, enthusiasm and passion to do better. To try, try, try and try again whilst simultaneously incorporating the lessons we’ve learnt in repeatedly failing.

So here are 2 rules so that when you fall flat on your face, you fall with style:

Rule #1: The power of ‘yet’ Words are so powerful. It’s okay to acknowledge falling-short and smile at finishing last. Discuss how it feels and what it would take to do better next time, and the time after that and the time after that.

There is, quite simply, no gain without a little pain. It’s useful to remember that whenever you feel like you’ve failed – remember the word ‘yet.’ Stay positive. Stay confident. Tell yourself you haven’t done it… ‘yet.’

Rule #2: Praise for effort rather than talent I’m sure you already know about ‘growth mindset’, so here’s your chance to catch up. Listen back to yourself and consider whether you praise yourself for talent or effort. It might be more important that you think!

To cultivate a growth mind-set, you need to believe that the route to success is through determination and hard work. Why? Because research shows that growth mindset business owners keep going when the going gets tough. They improve the quality of their strategies. Crucially, growth mindset business owners often don’t focus on reasons for their failures because they don’t even consider themselves to be failing. They just haven’t figured out how to complete the tasks. Yet. (see how ‘yet’ features again!)

The learning? You should be rewarding yourself for effort, not talent. Our advice is that, if you accomplish something, don’t say, ‘Well done, you are such a genius!’ but rather, ‘Awesome, you put the effort in and got the reward.’


In summary – the whole process of succeeding requires lots and lots of the f-word. You really want to grow. You want to start creating their business best. If you want to shine, you will have to accept abject failure. Repeatedly. With tears at times. With jeers at others.

Failure yes. But stay in the game.

The truth is simple; if we’re unwilling to fail, we’re unwilling to succeed.

To help you to succeed take a look here and get yourself started.

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