10 life lessons on how to find fulfilment in failure from our latest podcast guest, Emma Tindall

“The path to success and the path to failure are exactly the same; they just fork off at the ends”

Failure is never final (credit: Steve Buissinne)

Failure is a difficult concept to come to terms with, and a bitter pill to swallow. It makes us feel low, unworthy and a little bit sh*t at the time, but when we come out of it, boy it’s a rollercoaster ride we’ll be glad we went on. Not following? Failure teaches us so much without us even realising. So, if you’re struggling to embrace failure in all its average glory, we’ve gathered  10 trusty tips from our latest podcast host, Emma Tindall, who shares her words of wisdom on conquering the woes of failure. 

It means that one cogg in a particular journey didn’t work out

  1. Don’t pay attention to what others think 

When it comes to parents, family and friends, it’s very hard to deal with expectations that haven’t been met. You may feel like you’ve let the team down; a disappointment, a failure. So what? So what if they think you’re a failure? So what if they feel let down? “It means that one cogg in a particular journey didn’t work out,” says Emma, “the end result may be perceived as a failure but that isn’t actually what it is.” And remember, every failure is a step on the ladder to success. Emma adds, “[People are] not basing their accomplishment[s] on what they want but on the expectations of others.” 

  1. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t worry, there’s a reason for it

When you work so hard for something and at the last hurdle you fall, it can feel horrible. Gutting. At the time it will not feel fair. But, without sounding preachy, there is probably a bubbling, justified and perfect reason the universe has concocted for why you didn’t get that role, partner or grade. Emma’s thoughts? “If I hadn’t failed at [getting a job I wanted], I’d probably be doing something now that I don’t enjoy as much as what I am doing.” 

  1. “Everyone goes through sh*t you just have to hunt to find the gold in it” 

If you’ve not failed at one stage in your life, have you really lived? Failure is a spectrum upon which you will inevitably fall on at one time or another (and probably more than once), and if you’re not going to do it now – in your twenties, which, let’s face it, is the best time to fail – then when will you? In the end, you’ll look back and think, ‘actually, it wasn’t so bad after all.’ 

  1. It’s not always about you 

Emma tells us there is a parallel between rejection and failure. But neither are about you. They both encompass how others perceive you – which is categorically not your fault. If one person doesn’t give you a job or promotion, well that’s on them. It’s also acknowledging where you fit in: taking responsibility and working hard for it, yes, but also understanding that sometimes if you are not the right fit, you are not the right fit, imparts Emma. And that’s ok. 

Being vulnerable and putting your passions first – that’s really powerful

  1. Putting yourself out there is never failure

Regardless of whether it doesn’t go exactly to plan, the process of putting yourself out there in the first place is something to be proud of. It takes guts, and that, in itself, is a success. Emma believes that, “If you want to do something and put the effort and the time in, there is no room for failure. Mini failures, yes. But being vulnerable and putting your passions first – that’s really powerful.” Hear hear! 

  1. Live as authentically as possible

Emma’s advice? Ask yourself, will the big and small failures in life mean anything at all by the time you’re 90 years old and rocking away in the wooden chair as you look out over what will probably be the apocalypse by then? If so, then they’ve taught you a valuable lesson, and that is always worth it. 

You cannot compare anyone or anything because we are all so different

  1. Life doesn’t have a countdown

It’s wonderful having goals, however, setting yourself a timeframe in which to complete those goals may be hindering rather than helping. So what if you’re 30, aren’t on a 6 figure salary, married or have any children or even a house to call your own? Thirty, flirty and thriving is a motto to live by. And if you’re thriving, in any sense of the word, we think you’re doing a pretty good job. 

  1. You don’t have to be a social butterfly

Saying no is fine. It’s a great thing in fact. You don’t always have to be on the move or be the life and soul of  every party. However, failure in your social life is tricky as sometimes, it’s personal. It is about you as a person, but that doesn’t need to be negative. Sometimes, social requirements and personal commitments run their course, while friendships, relationships and other ships have simply sailed – everyone has to grow and become their own beautiful butterfly. 

  1. Nothing compares to you

“I wish I was more like them”; “I should be where they are”; “I want to be there.” These phrases, and those of that ilk, are utterly soul-destroying. In 2021, we’re cancelling idols. Period. You in your entire, loveable, wonderful, flakey, and fumbling uniquity are enough in your own right. Comparison is the thief of joy, says Emma, and we do not want any criminals in our midst. “You cannot compare anyone or anything because we are all so different” is a motto we are happy to abide by – thank you, Emma! 

  1.  How should we define success?

Just. Keep. Going. Giving up is the only failure that sticks, so if in doubt, ride it out!