It may seem strange to mine your failures for keys to success, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Just as Thomas Edison famously said that he didn't fail 999 times, but instead discovered 999 ways something wouldn't work, your own patterns of failure will lead you to success.
If you go into a relationship coach, some of the first questions he or she will ask you will be about your past relationships, and why they failed. A wise coach knows that the patterns you've developed and used previously often carry into the present. Discovering those patterns, and bringing attention to them, can not only help you see where you've gone wrong before, but also help you avoid similar problems in the future.
You can do this on your own as well. If you're trying to discover why your latest business failed, go back and look over all your work experiences. What did your past business failures have in common? Four instance, where they all in the same industry? Did they all have the same business structure? Were you working with the same partner? Did you hire similar people? Did you try to do it all yourself? Did you invest tons of money, or very little? These things may not seem to have anything in common, but they really do.
Tracing patterns and similarities can help point to reasons for failure and reasons for success.
The same goes to for your personal life as well. Are you having trouble maintaining relationships with friends or romantic partners? Trace where the problems are occurring. Do you always choose “the bad girl?” Do you go strong at the beginning but then hold back your interests and affections, saying you're too busy? Why do you smother friends and partners with attention and time, feeling insecure when they don't return your affections?
It may be helpful to bring in an objective set of eyes during this process. A coach as mentioned above can be extremely helpful. Having someone who knows you, but who isn't intimately connected to you, can help you figure out your patterns. Not only are they trained to ask the right questions, they're also experienced enough to know many of the common pitfalls. See my coaching page to find out how to get started.
You may think that you want your failures to be over and done with, never to see the light of day again. But that's short-term thinking. It's important to review what went wrong see can make it go right in the future.
Photo – Flickr:KimbOlene