A woman sits at a table with her hands folded and looks off to the right side of the screen with a serious expression. She has short, dark hair and wears a green satin blouse and a long red beaded necklace. The table in front of her is covered in blueprints, both rolled and spread out.
Recognizing your mistakes is a good start to learning from them, but the real improvement comes when you change your strategies and outlook. — Getty Images/MoMo Productions

The fear of failure can bring progress to a screeching halt when pursuing success. However, what if failure wasn't a barrier but an opportunity for growth? In a culture that values success above all else, it's easy to overlook the meaningful lessons failure has to teach.

Discover four strategic approaches to using mistakes as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks and redefine failure as something not to be feared but embraced.

[Read more: How Leaders Can Ignite Passion in the Workplace]

Think in terms of development, not defeat

One powerful method of learning from mistakes is redefining your perception of failure. Instead of viewing missteps as an eventual outcome or measure of your talent, consider them an opening for improvement. Setbacks can provide valuable insights and lessons that encourage flexibility, develop perseverance, and build skills.

For instance, studies show that how you frame failure can directly impact the outcome of an event. A shift in perspective can empower you to take control of your learning voyage.

By adjusting your mindset, you can allow mishaps to propel you forward, not pull you back. Flexibility is key. "One big difference between people who think intelligence is malleable and those who think intelligence is fixed is how they respond to mistakes," said Jason S. Moser, PhD.

Entrepreneurs who go with the flow will likely bounce back quickly after making mistakes. On the other hand, those who maintain a fixed mindset tend to repeat the same mistakes repeatedly. Reframing your ideas about failure can allow you to adjust your actions, make needed improvements, and discover new skills.

Consider the following:

  • Create a mindset that views failure as an opportunity for learning.
  • Define mistakes as short-term setbacks rather than inadequacies.
  • Value persistence and resilience when facing challenges.

Can it be that success and failure are all in your head? It might not be, but mindset is definitely where success can die. Although statistical reports suggest that when it comes to startups, people in the United States are some of the most fearless entrepreneurs in the world, real success is more about the stumble than the climb.

"I failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed," said Michael Jordan, Entrepreneur and former NBA All-Star.

Contemplate your missteps

Preparedness is a valuable component in business, but you can't anticipate every circumstance or predict all outcomes. However, you can take the time to reflect on what components contributed to an unfavorable outcome. Take a systematic approach.

Begin by grouping elements into areas that are in and out of your control, such as:

  • Internal issues with strategy, operations management, or quality control.
  • External reasons like market conditions, competition, or unexpected events.

Reframing your ideas about failure can allow you to adjust your actions, make needed improvements, and discover new skills.

Then, move to identify the specifics of each area. Indeed suggests noting the things you did well and the things you did poorly. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, get the team involved. Requesting and welcoming feedback from partners, mentors, and staff can give you much-needed insight from several perspectives.

Take stock of lessons learned

Analyzing the factors that inhibited your success amounts to very little if you don't learn from them. One "way to fail spectacularly is to fail the same way again and again, never learning from your previous failures," said Dan Miklovic, Founder of Lean Manufacturing Research.

To help direct the learning process, answer the following questions:

  • What insights can inform future decision-making?
  • What are some steps to take for improvement?
  • What are the patterns or recurring themes?

Readjusting your plan based on what you discover can take you a step further in reaching your goals. As Ryan Babineaux's book advises, don't just "Fail Fast, Fail Often," but also, Miklovic writes, "succeed fast by recognizing when a failure is approaching and make corrective actions before the failure becomes so large that recovery is difficult."

[Read more: 5 Decision-Making Techniques That Will Help You Run a Better Business]

Implement changes, and try again and again

Arming yourself with lessons from failure can allow you to take proactive steps to implement changes, such as adjusting your strategies, processes, and behaviors. By beginning the journey of discovery with a commitment to flexibility and improvement and vigilantly monitoring your progress, you can turn each failure into a pillar of success.

Refining your solutions based on feedback and results can help you craft a plan of action implementing the lessons you learned. Don't be afraid to buckle up and fail again. Think of each failure as a step toward the end goal. Continually take chances and learn because "your only other choice is NOT to take action and NOT to move forward," wrote Jim Peacock, Owner of Peak-Careers.

The way you frame mistakes can change the game when it comes to personal and professional progress. Seeing failure as part of the learning process can open doors to new ideas and cultivate growth. By deploying the strategies discussed, you can gear up to tackle setbacks head-on and turn them into opportunities for success.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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