Want to achieve your goals?
Here’s the only way: be prepared to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not achieving.
Although failure is uncomfortable, it can’t derail you if you expect to fail and decide that you’ll learn from all your failures.
As essayist John Burroughs pointed out:
“You can get discouraged many times, but you are not a failure until you begin to blame somebody else and stop trying.”
Achieve your goals even if you fail and fail again
I mentor writers and marketers every day and know they’re well on their way to success when they’re excited by failure, rather than depressed.
They may be discouraged for a moment, but they recover quickly. They don’t linger over failure. They look on it as feedback and move on.
Let’s look at how you can achieve your goals, despite failure.
1. Freelancing? How to achieve your goals even if you “fail”
A freelance writing coaching student recently forwarded an email from her client: “We’re disappointed, not what we were expecting.”
“What do I do?” She asked when I called her.
She was in her first week of full-time freelancing.
When I read her client’s brief, I saw the problem: miscommunication. She’d delivered what she thought the client wanted: she hadn’t clarified the brief before she started writing.
Miscommunication is the reason I suggest that when you receive a brief, you rewrite the brief. Turn it into bullet points. Send them to the client and ask whether you’ve got it right.
I suggested to my student that she pick up the phone, and ask the client what they wanted.
Sometimes, your client doesn’t know what he wants. When that happens, it’s time to hone your intuition: decide whether the client has changed his mind, and doesn’t want the project any longer, or whether you can, with a little calm questioning, discover what he needs.
If you start writing before you’re 100% sure of what the client wants, chances are it won’t end well. Itemize ALL the elements of the project carefully. Add your “in my own words” brief to the quote you give to your freelance client, and get him to sign off on it. Later, if the client wants to add extra stuff to the brief, itemize each item, and charge extra for each item.
My student contacted her client; they sorted it out. Not only did the client appreciate her professionalism, he’s given her a contract for an upcoming project.
When I asked her how she felt about her failure now, she said she’s pleased it happened. Her “failure” has boosted her confidence.
2. Rejected? Use failure as motivation
Ah, rejection. Believe it or not, over time rejection stops affecting you. Truly.
Back in the day, I wrote for women’s magazines. This was way before email; editors communicated via phone or fax. When my project list was getting low, I’d send out five queries a day to various magazines until I was fully booked again.
As you might imagine, the “rejections” out-stripped the acceptances by about ten to one. But I didn’t wait for rejections. When a query had been with a magazine for a week without a result, I faxed it off to another magazine. (If a magazine wanted a piece, they’d usually call the same day. They were well aware that writers send their ideas elsewhere when they don’t get a response.)
This led to a funny incident. I’d just faxed a rejected query off to Magazine 2 on my list for the query. Within a couple of minutes, the editor rang. “Yes, I want the piece on (whatever it was), but you might want to take a look at the name on the fax.”
Oops. I hadn’t removed the first editor’s name. We shared a chuckle over that, it wasn’t a big deal, just a minor embarrassment.
The moral? No rejection is final, if you refuse to accept it. Move on; activate Plan B and achieve your goals.
3. Still failing? Try more, and achieve your goals
Let’s say you’ve been rejected, and rejected, or you’ve failed at something. You really want to succeed.
One writer contacted me with 25 books on the Kindle Store. She’d sold nothing in six months. Nothing? I couldn’t believe it.
I checked her books on the Kindle Store. Her meta data was unclear and her titles didn’t suit her genre.
Six months later, she’s made five figures each month in the past two months — she’s full-steam ahead. As the saying goes, the harder I work, the luckier I get.
If you want to achieve your goals, look on every failure as an opportunity and you’ll succeed.
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Ocean photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.