Failures: the mistakes that show us what we need to do to succeed. If framed well, mistakes or failures can be viewed as a learning experience, one that will lead you to the outcome or goal you’re after. When you make a mistake or experience failure, it’s important to find the emotional and mental strategies to stay the course toward the outcome you know is necessary.
Joey Klein is the CEO of Inner Matrix Systems, a personal mastery training system for high achievers. Here is his step-by-step approach for reframing failure to turn our setbacks into valuable tools to reach our goals.
Step 1: Focus on Your Vision
Focus. Remind yourself what you’re working towards. Failure can derail your goals if you allow yourself to get lost in a fear-based state. Mindfulness meditation or other inner training methods can help you become aware of your emotions and leverage them to create what you want. Remind yourself why you were doing this in the first place—not just what the goal itself is, but how achieving that goal will affect other aspects of your life.
Use visualization techniques to reduce anxiety and harness your motivation. Mental imagery trains your brain for real performance, particularly motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory functions. Picture yourself achieving your goal and how that will feel. Really visualize all the related positive outcomes that will snowball once you hit that first milestone. Creating a crystal-clear vision for your life can help when you’re really in the lurch by physically forcing you to visualize your future successes.
Step 2: Pros and Cons
Once you have focused on the vision and the benchmark you wanted to fulfill and your emotions align with that outcome—it’s time to get down to business. Failure is a huge opportunity to collect data points to make your endeavors successful in the future.
First, focus on what went well: what went well in this circumstance? For example, maybe you were just turned down for a promotion, but taking the initiative to make a positive change in your life is a huge plus that you will be able to carry forward in your goal achievement process. By doing this, you can get your attention off of the problems and the things that weren’t working and start getting your focus and attention on the things that were working.
Now for some brutal honesty: what could have been optimized? Learning from failure is critical to understanding where you’re hitting the mark in terms of fulfilling your vision/outcome and where you’re missing it.
Step 3: Integrate Your Findings
At this point, you have the data you need to make a new plan and integrate what you learned from analyzing your situation in the previous step. Learning to shift our perspective can be tricky, though. We have subconscious inclinations to react to situations in the same way. By aligning our emotions with the outcome we want to achieve and working toward that, we can break out of ineffective thought strategies.
Step 4: Repeat
You had a setback, figured out how to optimize your strategy to move forward, and implemented your results into your current routine. And then, guess what? Another setback. But we know now that that’s okay because our setbacks help us understand how to become better, stronger, and more unstoppable than before. With every setback, we have the opportunity to become closer to achieving our goals. Continually name your vision and practice these steps to move towards your dream until it is fulfilled.
About Inner Matrix Systems
Inner Matrix Systems, based in Denver, is a personal mastery training system for high achievers. For more than twenty years, IMS has delivered a proprietary methodology that rewires, trains, and aligns the nervous system, emotions, and thought strategies to create real-life results. CEO, Joey Klein, and IMS have worked with more than 80,000 individuals from around the world through both live and online training programs, as well as one-on-one coaching. Clients have included: Boeing, IBM, Dell, Google, Panda Express, Coca Cola and The World Health Organization. Joey is the author of The Inner Matrix: Leveraging the Art & Science of Personal Mastery to Create Real Life Results (June 2021).