How to use your ‘failures’ to plan for success (It’s easier than you’d think!)

Use your failures to plan for success? Yes. If you're looking for productivity tips or an unusual life hack, read on for great tips! #behappier #howtobehappier #howtofeelhappier #happierthanever #waystobehappier #tipstobehappier #happybooks #waystomakeyourselfhappier #howtobehappy #happinessactivities #happinesshabits #happinessmindset

“I mean, no offense, but….”

That’s a great thing to hear on a Monday morning, right? When you’re 10 minutes into an hour-long walk with a friend?

I put on my Polite Midwestern I Won’t Be Offended Face and prepare for my friend to say something vaguely offensive.

“I really didn’t think it would work. I’ve read tons of books on this stuff. I’ve downloaded, like, five different apps. But this worked when nothing else did.”

My friend is talking about my course Bank Boost (shameless plug! It opened for enrollment yesterday!)

I’m flattered and blushy and I tell her so. I totally believe in the stuff we talk about in Bank Boost. It is full of great, insightful information and we approach money in a fun, doable, way!


There are other differences. The stuff my friend tried that hadn’t worked for her? The books and apps? They were solo endeavors. She had no support, no accountability, nobody to bounce ideas off of.

Maybe if she’d had that, those other things would have worked for her.

And if my friend knew this about herself – that she needs support + accountability to get where she wants to go – she’d be able to use that knowledge in every area of her life.

If she wanted to change careers, eat differently, train for a marathon, buy a home, sell everything and travel the world … she’d make sure she had support and accountability to do those things.

She’d stop buying books she doesn’t read, self-paced courses she doesn’t complete, and apps that take up space on her phone. She’d think about what has worked for her in the past and do more of it if she wants to find success in her future.

So I guess the good news is: If something has worked for you in the past, it’ll probably work again for you in the future!

And the bad news is: If something didn’t work for you in the past, it probably won’t magically start working now.

You already have all the information you need to set yourself up for success (or failure). Just look at what has worked in the past and do more of it. And stop doing shit that has never worked for you. Click To Tweet

How to use your past failures to plan for future success

Think about what worked in the past. Do more of it.

Let’s have a think about the aspects of our lives that are 100% on point. Maybe some of this success fell into your lap, but I bet you took some pretty intentional steps to make it happen.

Maybe you did a lot of self work before you joined Tinder so you’d know what you were looking for. Perhaps you won that race because you worked with a trainer every week. Did you land your dream job because you started speaking at conferences?

If you were at your healthiest when you had a CSA share because you had fresh produce delivered to your house – do more of that.

If your best, most creative work happened during NaNoWriMo – take part in it again.

If your friendships are always strengthened by out-of-town, out-of-the-box adventures (rather than constant coffee dates and hours) – have more adventures.

If you were in the best shape of your life training for an intimidating obstacle race – do that again!

If you got amazing results from once a month, in-person coaching with weekly accountability check ins – do more of that.

Ask yourself:

How did I meet the friends I have now?

How did I find my favorite job or client?

How did I land that amazing project?

That big project what went perfectly – what’d I do to make that happen?

That daily habit that makes me healthier and happier – how did I build it?

When I made that big change in my life that was damn-near seamless – how’d I pull that off?

Think about what hasn’t worked in the past. Do less of it.

And now let’s ruminate on where things haven’t gone quite as well. Not all of the tough spots in your life are your ‘fault.’ We can’t control the families we were born into, our brain chemistry, or our geographical locations.

We can, however, take a long, honest look at the things in our lives that aren’t working and identify the common denominators.

If you buy tons of self-help books and never read them – stop buying ‘em. Maybe you need to listen to them in audiobook form.

If you bail on your therapy sessions because they’re 45 minutes away – don’t work with service providers who are far away.

If you keep dating co-workers and it keeps ending in heartbreak and awkward team meetings – stop dating co-workers.

If you try to “get healthy” by shopping at the farmers’ market, but all that produce just rots in your fridge – maybe buying $35 of produce is not the move for you.

If you’ve never made a single professional connection or booked a single client from going to conferences – try something else, my dude.

Ask yourself:

Where do things fall apart in my relationships?

The people I’ve dated who were really bad news and the friendships that blew up – what did they have in common?

The projects I struggle with – what are the common denominators?

The things I give up on – at what part in the process do I throw in the towel?

What things have I bought and not used? If I’m really honest with myself, why don’t I use them?

What did the jobs that I hated have in common?

The clients who made me so angry – what part of our relationship failed?

Now, of course (OF COURSE) people change. Life changes. Just because online dating didn’t work for you in 2007 doesn’t mean it won’t work in 2018. Just because you met your favorite client at a bar doesn’t mean that’s the only place to meet clients.

This is not a permission slip to live in a rut of our own making, only doing exactly the same thing over and over.

But you’re smart. When you know how your brain works, how your life works, and what works for you, you can buy + do + act in a way that sets you up for success. Instead of repeating well-intentioned failures forever.

But I want to hear from you! What are some of your biggest successes and how can you use that information to help you succeed again, in other parts of your life?

P.S. If you want one-on-one help sorting these things out, I do that!

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  1. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    All my successes in life have come from taking risks, whether it’s in a relationship or in my career. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I hate change, so I need to remember to always take a risk and a chance!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Jamie

      This is such a genius insight – I am also a perfectionist terrified of change and yet taking risks has so often paid off! My husband and I now have the opportunity to move somewhere much more affordable (and my company will even move us!) but it means my husband has to leave his job (which he hates). It scares me to commit to the move without him having a job first, but I know it’s an amazing opportunity so I am trying to be brave.

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