Re-framing Failure: 4 Ways it Equals Success

According to, failure means things like: an act or instance of proving unsuccessful; lack of success. Non-performance of something due, required, or expected. A person or thing that proves unsuccessful.

If you were to live and die by those exact words, we are all failures - all seven billion humans on earth. But failure is not so cut and dry. How does one define what a failure even is?

Failure is relative and when you assign meaning to something that happens, you alone define that circumstance. Is it really what happened, though? Maybe and maybe not, because what you believe influences the definition of the outcome. Call it whatever you call it, but you give it meaning. And you also have the power to shape it or re-frame it any way you'd like.

  1. Failure is a lesson: Give me your raw, unedited, beautiful anything instead -that is the opposite of "failure". That is action and sharing your gifts with the world. The bravest thing you can do is be honest with yourself and meet you right where you're at. Where ever that place is, it's okay. You're not a failure for taking imperfect action!

  • Failure is a no that leads to a better yes: rejection can make you feel unwanted, unheard, undesirable to the world; but it is actually redirection. For every time you hear the word no, there's a better yes right behind it. Yet, you will miss that opportunity if you continue to dwell in the no or rejection or pity-party that usually goes along with that. Look for the yes dammit! Actively seek it out and you will find it.
  • Failure is only what you make it mean: You could easily take any situation and make it mean something entirely different. Which begs the question, "Why would you make it mean something that keeps you stuck or unhappy or engulfed in self-pity"? See it for what it is - not for what it isn't and/or some thing so much bigger than you.
  • Failure is freedom more than it is chains: the path to overcoming or success may not be easy. In fact, it might be downright scary. Get on it anyway, without looking back, at your "failures". Give yourself permission to not always know the exact or perfect way to do something. Done or out there is always better than what you deem to be perfect. Seeking perfection in an imperfect world will keep you from sharing your experiences, talents and wisdom.
  • You want to envision your future with a sense of joy, purpose and accomplishment, and yet you reflect on failure like it somehow cancels all of that out. It becomes impossible and fear of failure turns into fear of success. And fear, fear is a mother f*cker. It is a word worse than any you have said or heard.

    When you let the past creep in and fill your head with mistakes, missteps and every time you "let it slip away" - fear wins. Replace it right now with hope. Hope has longer legs and runs a hell of a lot faster than fear. Stop yelling retreat and running for the hills - freedom isn't found there.

    Freedom is found inside of you. Freedom is the light you shine on the darkness of fear and failure. Freedom is where you find that your worth is not based in failure, but rising up in the face of it.

    If you don't believe you are worthy of success or worthy of anything you desire, you'll continue to look to the failures for comfort and knowing. Imagine instead for a moment what it feels like to live a life where you believe that you are actually enough and worthy. Your future is like the lover of your wildest dreams - breathtaking, beautiful and exquisite.

    Now imagine who you will become for choosing to stay on the path despite fear and failure. You will rival that lover's beauty. You are exquisite. Your confidence soars and you can release the old story. You finally believe that you are not the past and that failure does not define your future. You are capable. You are deserving of everything you want. You believe that. Your courage is breathtaking.

    And you are never a failure.

    Lisa Schmidt is a Reinvention Catalyst for women. She lives in Detroit, MI. Are you in need of support? Let's connect and thrive together! Join my free newsletter to get advice and tips to guide you in navigating your new or reclaimed life, a free mastermind group, and a copy of my eBook "Reinventing Me" Right Here .