Professor Pete Alexander

Stress Relief Tool – Reframe Failure

Reframing failure as simply feedback on your way to success can help reduce your stress.

Rather than thinking of failure as something negative, consider it part of your education in your future success. When you fail, it just means you tried one way and now it is time to try another way. In other words, failure is just feedback. When you fail, the world is providing you feedback that you need to take a different approach. When you are progressing forward, you will run into obstacles along the way.

When you think of failure instead of feedback, you are listening to your inner critic. We all fail – that’s part of life. How we perceive failure is what separates those who want to reduce their stress and those who will continue to pile it on.

In fact, The Church of Fail actually teaches us to celebrate failures. Attendees step forward in front of an audience and answer three questions about what they failed at. After they present, they then receive a round of applause and are not allowed to step down until the applause has ended. The peculiar feeling that comes from accepting a round of applause, coupled with vulnerability of sharing, leaves a greater mark than if you sat quietly in a room noting you’d made a mistake.

Pretty much everyone who has ever tried anything has cupboards full of botched attempts, rejection letters and memories of being passed over and ignored. Let’s face it, we’ve all failed. Maybe not on a grand scale, but in some way, shape or form, we’ve screwed up.1 So stop stressing and remember you are part of a very large club. In fact, you could even celebrate your failure with others by attending a local F**k Up Night (FUN) in which professionals recount about their worst work screwups.2

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison, American Inventor, 1847 – 1931


  1. Kessels, E. – Failed It!: How to turn mistakes into ideas and other advice for successfully screwing up
  2. Hu, J. – Celebrate your failures at Fuckup Nights

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to take action and overcome their self-imposed barriers to success using clever yet simple tools and techniques.

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