It is not a question of IF we are going to make a mistake, take a misstep, tell a little white lie (I can’t help but remember Forest Gump saying “mama said nothin’ wrong with a little white lie, they don’t hurt anybody”), or make a split second decision to not tell the when pressed for an answer or are unsure, it is a question on WHEN. Sometimes we even purposefully do something that is against our very our nature, values, ethics, or morals.

That occurrence is typically followed by someone seeing that fail and calling us on the carpet before we can call ourselves on it. Before we submit to thinking we failed at something, we need to address what failure is, and what failure isn’t, then we know how to recover.

If we take steps to recover from what looks like a failure, we automatically become realigned with our values, morals, and ethics.

Ready to discover how to work through mistakes, missteps, or mess-ups?

What Is Failure?

First off, let’s review what failure is and what it isn’t. Failing at something is often referred to as giving up, which in certain cases is true, however not true across the board (just ask anyone who has gotten out of an abusive relationship). Failure is simply not giving up.

Failure is failure when we give up or quit something without acknowledging seven critical elements.

Forgiveness – Authenticity – Integrity – Longevity – Understanding – Recognition – Ending

When any of the above seven elements have not been flushed out or addressed, then I submit to you that we have failed.

What Isn’t Failure?

Better yet, recovering from perceived failure, or walking through these seven elements will guarantee that you have not failed. These seven elements also confirm that we are walking inside of our integrity and authenticity, this making us not failures, but agents of growth and change.

These seven elements alleviate failure in our lives. When we juxtapose all these elements inside of any circumstance or situation we find ourselves in, we can rest assured that we have done all we can to ensure success and to live within our foundations.

If Forgiveness can be found, whether asked for or given, then we have not failed. Asking for forgiveness means that the person asking is aware. Awareness is key to making the right choices.

We know when we are being 100% honest with ourselves or others. Authenticity is just that. It is taking awareness and putting it into action. It is taking responsibility or being accountable for what is going on inside our sphere of influence and control (which is typically ourselves).

Integrity can be simplified to doing what we say we are going to do. Are we trustworthy, courteous, kind, helpful, or friendly? Living in integrity is easy for some and a challenge for others. The foundation of integrity begins when we are children at home. The values and morals that we are taught in the home initiate who we are and will challenge us throughout our lives.

Next, we need to look at our current situation through the lens of longevity. We must evaluate if this situation is temporary or potentially lifelong. Whether positive or negative, this perspective gives us the power to control what we can and let go of what we can’t.

Understanding the situation is vital. Are you failing in a business because you don’t have resources, but perhaps in a few weeks or months those resources will be available? Knowing the present helps us understand the future.

Now, there comes the recognition of the circumstance. Perhaps the current situation is beyond our control, or maybe we went head into something and now find ourselves stuck. Recognizing is simply the awareness of the current reality, which provides permission for us to act.

Finally, is there an ending in sight. For example, giving up sophomore year in high school when you know the ending is coming in two years is different than ending a two-year relationship or a business because you are having a ‘bad month’.

Recovery is possible

Taking the time to filter our current circumstances or situation through the seven elements of FAILURE presents us with the ability to see what is and what isn’t failure.

Walking through these elements positions us to be prepared to give an answer (to ourselves or another) when the time comes. If we have been successful in navigating them, no matter the outcome we can be sure of our reality. I’ve wrote about this before, that awareness brings accountability that leads to action.

Failure is only failure when we haven’t taken action.