Image: Danka & Peter/DeathToStockPhoto

Failure is one of the few words in the english language that sends shivers down our spine, and into intense feelings of disgrace, shame, dishonour and humiliation.

We read or hear about failed marriages, failed business attempts, failed job interviews, failing to make the team, or to pass entrance exams.

Who can relate?

I think we all can.

Our failures are like the blimps and setbacks we want to hide on life’s resume. Yet failure is a necessary step along our path to success.  In fact failure is good for you.


It’s our greatest teacher!  We grow and learn through these experiences, otherwise we play it safe, and never risk breaking free from old patterns of being and/or making familiar choices.

In experiencing many of my own personal failures, and there have been some biggies, I’ve realised its all part of life’s journey. If I want to accomplishing things, I need to move beyond my comfort zone.

Serious failures, f*** ups, and knock backs can be attributed to Oprah’s rise to fame, JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by12 publishers, Vera Wang bridal and evening wear designer failed to make the US Olympic ice skating team, and Ita Buttrose the founder of CLEO magazine and then later editor of Australian Women’s Weekly encountered many failures including her a once self titled magazine.

What all these influential women have in common is that they failed before they succeeded.

The former PM, Julia Gillard after her sacking from high office tweeted

“Our failures may shape us, but they do not have to define us.  We must always define ourselves.”

Ladies it’s time to reframe our failures!

When we “fail” at something we tend to make it about our “lack of” something or something deficient in us.  From my training in Gestalt theory, I look more to what areas of an individual’s support resources are either underused or simply missing, to help reframe their experience.

I tell my clients there are two types of support resources.  Firstly there’s self support such as health, self identity, beliefs, and then there’s environmental support, that is a loving family and friends, work, and home life.  And I’m curious how my client negotiates her connection and withdrawal of these support systems to get her needs met.

So when clients say, “I’m a failure as a mother because I can’t get the kids to school on time”, I investigate why she’s chosen to internalise it i.e. making it about herself and take the blame.

Reframing quickly moves individuals from the humiliation of feeling bad to being open to exploring other possibilities, and trying again.

This mother’s failure had NOTHING to do with her, but more about CREATING a system or morning routine, which the kids could follow to get them out the door by 8.10am.

I invite you to put this quote on your fridge.

I am not a failure, I just failed this time.

Whether you can tick one or all of the failures mentioned above, don’t fall into the trap of internalising it and make it something about YOU.

Here’s my reframe …

To my failed marriage, I failed to communicate my needs.

To my failed first business, I failed to attract clients.

To my failed job interview, I failed to calm my nerves.

To my failed attempt at making the team, I failed to practise.

To my failed exam, I failed to love the language.


Don’t fear failure at the expense of ultimately succeeding. It’s all part of the process.


If I can help you move forward in any of your endeavours, contact me today on 0405 433 217 or  I offer a limited number of FREE 30 min Back To Balance Rapid Strategy Sessions.




Joyce & Sills (2001) “Skills in Gestalt Counselling & Psychotherapy” Sage:London.