Steps in achieving your goals – don’t be afraid to fail

I originally wrote this for a college vlog that was recorded for the students as part of their well-being week and as I reflected on the content, I thought, maybe we all need to hear this sometimes.


When life gets tough, it is easy to lose sight of our goals and become the leaf that is buffeted from one place to another in high winds, never quite sure where it will land up or if it will ever land. 

Being able to reset, reflect and look at where you have arrived objectively can be a hard task to achieve for some, especially when you are busy with your head down just trying to get through each day. But when the time comes, when you have more headspace, that is the time to go through the basics, to get yourself back on track to achieving those goals.

When we set out to achieve something, quite often we have an idea, a vision of what that might look like. For those of you who are dreamers, you might have a big picture aspect that might include lifestyle or tangible goals. For those of you who are more detailed, your vision might have more information about the what and by when.

Whatever your preferred way of setting goals or aspirations there are some important aspects to making it happen.

Knowing the difference between your strategies and your tactics

Strategy is what you do to meet your goals. Tactics are how you do it.

For example:

"I want to be a landscape gardener."

Strategy – to acquire the necessary qualifications and to gain experience in the industry.

Tactics – set aside sufficient study and revision time to achieve the qualifications and find a part-time job in the industry or set up my own.

You need both to make it happen.

Being flexible

Life doesn’t always go to plan. Ideas and visions don’t always turn out how you expect them to. As a young person, you have limited experience of the world and much of your map of the world has, until recently, been designed by the experiences of those around you – and of course, they aren’t you.

So if you discover that your desire to become a personal trainer involves a level of biology that you can’t quite grasp despite putting in your best effort, then perhaps it is time to reflect and reassess?

Or if you find out that the course that you are on, or the job that you eagerly accept with excitement isn’t quite what you expected, or wanted. Then be prepared to look objectively at your situation and make amends, if that is what is reasonable to do so.

It may be that you have to stick something out and in which case the best thing to do is to see the situation as experience, as information, as feedback.

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback

Don’t be afraid to fail, failure teaches you more about what you do and do not want from life than success ever will. Failure teaches you to bounce back, it teaches you to be resilient.

There are a number of key components to fear of failure, here are some of them:

You are a perfectionist that will only do things that you are bound to succeed in.

The problem with this way of being is that you limit your potential enormously as you are only willing to do the things that stand to bring you success. It also sucks the joy out of life and generally makes you an incredibly difficult person to be around as nobody else can meet your ridiculously high expectations.

You are an avoider – putting things off until the last minute – handing the responsibility always to your future self to deal with. Avoiding taking responsibility for getting the job done, then usually coming up with all the excuses as to why you didn’t do what you needed to do.

The problem with this strategy is that you always feel like a let-down, your self-worth takes a beating each time you avoid doing what you need to do and you also create a mentality of ‘I can’t’ or ‘I’m useless so what’s the point’

You think you are not good enough (also often the perfectionist) or as a result of having gained evidence of criticism from those around you, perhaps an adult parent or teacher or someone else has been unfairly harsh in their comments about you and you have taken it on-board. Or perhaps you compare yourself to others unfavourably.

The problem with this is that it is self-limiting – there will always be people better than you and there will always be people much worse than you. The moment you compare yourself to others is the moment you delete all your own achievements, making them null and void.

If you were to talk to almost any person who has had a few years of working under their belts, most of them would say that they are not doing what they thought they would be doing when they left school or college.

I spent 30 years working in administration – I am good at it, but it is not what I love doing. I am now a psychotherapist and also coach, tutor and examine other students in my industry. This is what I love - this is my Ikigai- so what is an Ikigai?

Ikigai - The Japanese secret to a long and happy life

Ikigai is a Japanese concept referring to having a direction or purpose in life, providing a sense of fulfilment to a person, and towards which they may take actions, giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning.

I use this in my coaching to help those who find themselves at a crossroads, to identify what direction they can go in. The Ikigai is essentially a Venn diagram that allows you to discover certain elements, that if they have the consistency of showing up in all four sections, are your Ikigai:

  1. What you are good at.
  2. What you love doing.
  3. What you can get paid for.
  4. What the world needs.

By spending some time completing the Venn diagram you can identify a goal to work towards to give you a sense of purpose, of fulfilment that can create a long and happy life.

When you put these components into place and take consistent steps towards achieving your goals, success is almost inevitable.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN
Written by Nikki Emerton
Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN

Having spent the majority of my adult life not really knowing how to be resilient to life's ups and downs, I discovered NLP, hypnotherapy and coaching. I've found this invaluable in my own life and now use the skills I have learnt and the experiences I have had to help others change their thoughts and behaviours to achieve health and happiness.

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