5 Ways to Profit from Failure

The next time you fail financially—losing a sale or a job, making a bad investment—I hope you’ll think of Tom.

Tom’s head was crammed with ideas he was certain would change the world. Yet more times than not, when he tried to bring those ideas to life, he failed. 

Tom inspires me because he refused to let failure have the last word. Each time, he’d dust himself off, rethink his idea, and stubbornly try again. As a result, he had some amazing breakthroughs. But those successes only came from him going through, not around, failure. 

If Tom were writing this, he might type these words, “Failure can be a great teacher—IF you let it. Or it can be your tombstone. It’s your choice.”

So, how do we get to the place where failure benefits us, rather than breaks us? Here are five smart tips:

  • Understand that failure puts us in good company

The fear and embarrassment we feel in failure can be overwhelming. All objective perspective goes out the window, and the voices inside our heads loudly taunt us with all the reasons we should be even more scared or humiliated than we already are! 

In that low place, wouldn’t it be great to suddenly find yourself surrounded by solid, competent people you respect…and hear them say, “Hey, I’ve been there too. I know how you feel. It’s going to be okay”? 

The fact is, you ARE surrounded by such people! I dare you to name one successful person who hasn’t had multiple failures.

  • Find a cheerleader / coach

You need someone who believes in you and sees the potential in you that you’re unable to see. Call this individual a cheerleader or a coach…or just a friend. But whatever else you do in the midst of a setback…call this person.

  • Separate yourself from your failure

You are not your failure. Your failure is your failure. Those are never the same thing.

Please do yourself a favor and read the paragraph above over and over until you start to believe that it just might be true.

So, you attempted something and it didn’t work. At least you were brave and tried! (Do you realize how many people don’t take any risks?) 

Be like Tom. Get off your back, get out of your head, and get back to work.

  • Do an honest post-mortem

Once you’ve begun to address your emotional response to failure, it’s time to look hard at the facts. 

What went wrong? Specifically? Can you identify one or two changes that would have brought success? Can you put them in writing? Good…do it. 

The first step to figuring out how to get something right is to identify what you did wrong the first time. 

  • Try again, but do it differently

Here’s the truth: You might get it wrong again! But if the task is doable, and worth doing (to you), keep at it until you get it right!

That’s what Tom did.

He isn’t remembered today as the man who failed thousands of times…though that is true of him. 

History reveals Thomas Edison as the man who turned the lights on for the rest of humanity through the invention of the incandescent light bulb. 

But his path to the light went straight through the darkness of failure.

I’m so glad he didn’t give up. 

Don’t you either.

And on that note…if you’re feeling frustrated because you have failed (so far) to figure out how you’re going to turn your retirement nest egg into regular retirement income, I invite you to take this free, 5-minute “RISA” quiz (email me at bmoore@argentadvisors.com for the link). It’s an ingenious tool that can help you figure out—based on your unique “financial personality”—the best plan for you.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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