Task Failed Successfully: What Setbacks Teach You

Kristen Tally
3 min readDec 11, 2019


The feeling of success is unlike anything else and the drive that follows is incredible. But arguably, failure is a more sound teacher than success. It can show you exactly what you’re made of when things get tough.

A setback is a bucket of cold water over your head that wakes you up at 5 in the morning to get you going. And learning from failures, missteps, and mistakes is what will set you up for future wins and successes. Here’s exactly what you can learn for the next time your plans go awry.

You Know Who You Need in the Future

The best team you can have is made up of people who know what you need. Having a group of people who know and understand your mission and vision will be there through feast and famine.

Ups and downs are a given — but having a team to help you reorient and plan out the next steps is crucial to bouncing back. This isn’t to say the captain must go down with their ship. But the captain does have a responsibility to rally their crew and get things in order.

Your team, crew, family — whatever you call them — should and need to understand your end goal. What are you doing any of this for? Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? Know that and who understands that vision, and you’ll be golden.

You’ll Learn What Not to Do

Learning from a failure on what not to do is just as important as what to do. We learn best from our mistakes, and failure is your barometer for how screwed up things are. Call it perspective or wisdom. Learning what not to do is an unspoken trial most people go through while navigating school, jobs, or life itself.

Learning from a failure to recognize your own missteps and mistakes offers future clarity, almost like you can see the future. And with that knowledge, you can pause and back up once you get a sense of déjà vu and attack the problem from a different angle.

You’ll Know Your Worst-Case Scenario

Knowing what could happen and what would probably happen can be the difference in how you approach a problem. A knee-jerk instinct to catastrophize and look at the worst-case scenario is natural when everything seems to be going wrong.

But if you pivot to the big picture, every “failure” is a learning experience and an opportunity to learn what you’ll come up against next time. You can’t be scared by the worst-case scenario because you’ve already weathered it once.

You Can Find Your “Emergency Exit”

Your “emergency exit” is your contingency plan in action. If Plan A fails, pull up Plan B. Just having the option and a game plan for when things don’t go off without a hitch is a huge step in the right direction. Because if Plan A fails and you don’t have a Plan B, coming up with one in the heat of the moment can put you at risk for overthinking, under-preparing, and last-minute efforts. Having the right plans — executed by the right team — can honestly make all the difference.

Failure sucks. Oftentimes we take it as a reflection of our failure as a person — even if it isn’t. But the mistakes we make and setbacks we experience are what ultimately shape better future decision-making and only add to your skillset in the future.



Kristen Tally

Writer and lover of all things Millennial pink, marketing, and good-habit-forming. The opinions expressed here are only those of the author’s.