How to deal with failure

How to deal with failure

Do you ever feel like you’ve failed at something?


Maybe you got fired by your boss, or maybe you had a bad breakup you didn’t see coming, or maybe you feel like sh*t because you just failed an exam of a lifetime?


Whatever you define ‘failure’ to be, I want you to know that you’re not alone.


Failure Sucks. Period.

I know from personal experience how painful it feels to fail. And I’ve personally failed…many, many times. For example, I’ve been fired from high-paying finance jobs , twice. And I’ve failed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams, at least 5 times! So when I say I get you, I really, really mean it.


I get how humiliating it is, to face up to the fact that you just got rejected. To face the fact that you tried your absolute best and it still wasn’t good enough for someone else.


Our pride or ego gets hurt. After all, no one likes to be told to their face they’re not good enough.


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Why you should stop living in the past

Yes, I understand everyone has to take time to mourn their losses. And yes, I know it feels unfair that you’re the victim, and that they’re mean and they’re in the wrong.


But out of love, let me tell you something I know for sure – instead of spending too much time indulging in self-pity, crying ‘poor me’ or feeling sorry for yourself, I want you to understand something:


The longer you hold onto resentment and negative feelings, the more power they have over you.


Why? Because they’re occupying your mental space. They’re sucking up your emotional energy and your life force like vampires. Instead, it’s more helpful to your well-being if you chose to Let Go.


What you should ask yourself instead

So, instead of asking “Why did this happen TO me?” Ask yourself this question:

What’s the life lesson here? What do I need to learn in order to move forward with my life?


  • Is it a lesson of patience? – Because our egos got ahead of ourselves, we think we’re more ready than we are and we still need to learn the ropes before we can jump really high? So what you were presented with were speed bumps, and the Universe is trying to slow you down? Maybe we actually needed to spend more time getting our foundations right first, before we can really soar? Remember, a big tree has strong roots.


  • Is it a blessing in disguise? – As the old saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens.” Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise and you don’t’ know it yet. Certain doors closing on you may mean that you’re getting prepped for new doors that are about to open. So, your failure is not really a ‘failure’ as such, but a life transition.


  • Or maybe it’s not part of your purpose? – You can try all you want and remember, you do have a choice. But if it’s not actually part of your path, not part of your destiny, pushing yourself down a path YOU WANT can feel like fighting an uphill battle. You can almost feel very little doors opening for you. That was my own experience when I worked in finance for the past 10 years. It simply wasn’t my path. The more I pushed, the more I felt the resistance in everything I did. And in fact, it was already foretold to me that it wasn’t going to be my path, yet I stubbornly persisted. I wanted to prove the clairvoyant wrong. Plus, I wanted to beat divine timing. I wanted to succeed when I WANT, on MY TERMS and MY TIMING. What a disaster that turned out to be… (But as it turned out, that was a lesson I had to learn too. The hard way.)


Instead of asking why, ask what. Ask yourself what lessons can you learn from such experiences.



Challenges are gifts in disguise

You have to figure out what those life lessons are. And when you learn them, live them and embody them. History doesn’t need to repeat itself on you anymore. It doesn’t have to happen TO you anymore because you’ve learnt your lesson. And now you can finally move on.


I came across this quote last week at a beautiful Sweedish-inspired stationary shop, that neatly sums up what I mean:

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know” – Pema Chodron


Dr Caroline Myss’s also talks about how coping with rejection and failure is a life lesson in itself. In her healing framework, she explains that the spiritual reason on why you need to experience failure and rejection is because you must learn to trust your own instincts and internal guidance system.


According to Myss, until you let go of the need to constantly seek other people’s approval, you’ll find it hard to follow your dreams and your own intuition because you’d rather invalidate your hunches based on whether others would approve of you, than to go with your gut. And until you can believe in yourself without the support of others, you’ll always feel vulnerable to rejection and feeling like a failure.


It’s a life lesson on being able to follow your own dreams, ambitions, pursue your highest potential and creativity without the support of others.


So, whenever you feel like you’ve ‘failed’ at something, remember to ask yourself: “What’s the lesson here?”


Remember, you’re a spiritual being on Earth school. You’re here on the journey to evolve your soul and enrich your entire being. When you extract those life lessons and feel grateful for having that experience, that’s when you become free from the grips of those whom you think have ‘wronged’ you, and from there that’s how your soul can evolve.


You always have the power of choice at every given moment. And I hope that this piece has in one way or another, encouraged you to think of failure as a tool to grow rather than as an excuse to give up.


And so with this, I’d love to know if you’ve got any stories about triumphs over failure that you could share? How did you learn from it? And suppose you were in a situation where failure is inevitable, what would you do and how would you turn the tables? Please send your thoughts over at I can’t wait to hear from you soon!

About Clara Chung

Clara Chung is a Results Coach. She helps men and women get the success they want by getting out of their own way, and by overcoming their fears of putting themselves out there.

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