Finding Hope in Failure: Six Strategies

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fiding hope in failure

Failure.  Nobody wants it. 

In other words, we pretend it does not exist. Social media makes matters worse. We fill our feeds with the best view of our lives, for instance.  Meanwhile, finding hope in failure becomes hard.

Further, culture rewards success.  Awards go to the best in the class, the most successful employee, and the first to finish the race.  Yet, failure still appears regularly throughout our daily lives. 

Failure filled our week.

Don’t believe me?  Let me share a glimpse of this past week. 

  • My washer is on the fritz.  As a result, it makes a terrible squealing sound in the spin cycle.  It is barely four years old. Consequently, the warranty expired long ago.  It will cost three quarters of a thousand dollars to replace this front loader.
  • My sons’ mower is sitting in the yard with a bad carburetor and worn out fuel lines. They purchased replacement parts only to find they lost the float to the carburetor.  They purchased a new fuel line.  However, the employee inadvertently gave them a three foot line instead of the requested four foot line.
  • Our aged minivan is sitting in the shop because it sprang a leak, using a quart of oil every six miles.  As I followed my husband to the shop, it sprinkled oil all over my windshield.
  • Labels from my new laser printer fleck and peel after minimal handling. Not a pleasant discovery with our product on shelves in stores.
  • Finally, I just logged in three miles on the treadmill at the gym.  I was drenched in sweat. After a refreshing shower, I stood there in despair upon discovering certain garments had not been placed in my duffel.  I would have to wear sweaty underclothing.  It dampened more than just my spirits.

This is a typical week on our farm.  Failure shows up every day in some form, on a continuum.  Last fall we had the dreadful experience of losing several beloved goats due to a parasite outbreak; a consequence of the 2018 drought.

Failure happens all the time

I am here to point out the obvious. This stuff happens all the time.  Failure, mistakes, and even tragedy are a part of life. Some of the scenarios I listed above happened because of worn out items.  But some happened because of mistakes or human error. 

We are a large family running two businesses from our farm.  Goals help us complete our work.  Nevertheless, mistakes and failure derail the best laid plans. 

Six ways to find hope in failure

How can we maintain a posture of hope amidst these daily trials?  Why set goals only to face various failures?  You may wonder: is finding hope in failure possible? Yes, it is! Here is what I have learnedabout finding hope in failure:

  1.  Set goals. Don’t stop moving forward. Mistakes are inevitable but produce growth and achievement.  In fact, set bold goals.  Setting small goals means a small impact. Why not maximize your influence?
  2. Don’t tolerate failure.  You will encounter problems.  Instead of quitting, push through the failure.
  3. Look for a pattern in the failure.  Diagnose the underlying cause. Moreover, determine if the failure occurred because you did something wrong, or if other people did something wrong. (You can fix things that you have done wrong; you can compensate for things others have done wrong.) 
  4. Treat failure like a treasure hunt.  You are a detective.  In the end, you will find a gem.
  5. See failure as a wise teacher. Failure stings. As a result, it is a fantastic teacher.  Failure stands out painfully in our minds.  Since people like to avoid pain, we are less likely to repeat that pattern.
  6. Purposely pursue a posture of gratitude.  As I mentioned above, this is an average week on the farm.  It would be easy to succumb to despair.  Instead, an intentional shift of focus decreases the overwhelm.  Make a mental list of all the things you are grateful for or the things that are going well.  During difficult seasons, I make a written list and post it where I will see it. 

Here are the blessings in the hardship last week:

  • We have a store credit at Menards to use on a replacement washer.  (We obtained the credit when our water heater went out last fall, and was ultimately returned after several repairs, and even multiple water heater replacements were done.)
  • My twin sons, 16, are learning a great deal about small engine repair. They are doing the work on their own. Additionally, they are developing a skill set that will last a lifetime.
  • We are so thankful the oil problems did not ruin the engine.  Above all, we are blessed to have honest, affordable, Christian mechanics.  The repair costs a mere $50.
  • I am still troubleshooting my printer woes.  But I am thankful for the vast amount of information on the internet.  Other soap makers discussed this same problem on a forum recently.  Many times a simple search will yield an answer to such a problem.
  • Lastly, I will not forget to bring clean underwear to the gym.  That experience made a strong impression.  Enough said.

So I challenge you …

Next time you face failure, apply these principles to live a hope filled life. 

Now that you are finding hope in failure, take inspiration to the next level. Check out our article “Share Hope: Five Simple Ways”.

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