Failing can be turned into success

Lighthouse column
By: Angela Ponivas Special to The News Messenger
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As 2012 approaches, many residents will begin to make their New Year’s resolutions. If you are anything like me, you will begin the year with great goals and intentions but inevitably get off track, make mistakes, lose momentum, begin to feel defeated and struggle to get back on track. For those who are familiar with this cycle, please know that you are not alone. Everyone fails, because failure is part of success. Anyone who has ever succeeded has failed many times. The question is “When you make a mistake or fail, how do you overcome it?” Ten tips follow. 1. Learn from your mistakes and failures. How did you learn to ride a bike? The short answer is you fell off 100 times. Similarly, every time you make a mistake or fail, learn from it so that you are better prepared next time. 2. Don’t dwell on it. Now that you have learned something from your mistake, move on. Don’t dwell on your past. You can’t tell where you are going if you are continually looking backward. 3. Don’t be afraid to try again. Don’t let the fear from your last failure stop you. Failure is the road necessary for success. 4. Think about worse-case scenarios. If you don’t succeed, what will the outcome be? Is it something so terrible or is it something manageable? Usually, the outcome will not be as bad as we think, so if it’s manageable, keep moving forward. 5. Take baby steps. If your fear is extreme or truly preventing you from moving forward, then don’t jump in full force. Ease your way forward, dividing the steps into more manageable, achievable steps. 6. Tell yourself, “I can do this!” (and believe it.) Just because you may have failed at something in the past doesn’t mean you will fail again. Try something new and remember the old adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” If you fail, at least you took that chance. To have never even tried is worse than failing because you’ll never have made the attempt. Keep positive and give it your best shot because reaching a level of confidence is a definitive measure of success. 7. Surround yourself with positive people. No matter what it is that you are trying to achieve, surround yourself with successful individuals who have done what you want to do. One of the best ways to overcome failure is to learn how others just like you overcame failure. This will not only encourage you but give you the proof that it can be done. 8. Talk to others (or read). Reach out and communicate with others who have already overcome. See what made them succeed and if they have any tips. At minimum, they’ll likely be able to offer some moral support and words of wisdom to fall back on. If you don’t know anyone to talk to, get a book on the topic and learn from someone who has been there and done that. 9. Realize that failure is part of the learning curve. Failure and mistakes aren’t fun but they are what help us learn to be great at whatever it is we are trying to achieve. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” - Colin Powell 10. Mobilize your fear. Fear can be a powerful motivator. Use it to your advantage. Allow it to inspire and motivate rather than languish within you. For 2012, make the resolution to overcome and to not let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your full potential in life. Happy New Year! Angela Ponivas is the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center’s executive director. Her phone is 645-3300; address is 427 A St., Suite 400; and Web site is