Why a failure resume is good for your wellbeing?

I know what you’re thinking. Why would I want to write about my failures? When you think of a resume, you automatically think of a document use to apply for jobs. You know, the one that lists all your achievements, skills and experiences. These are the positive achievements you have made in your career and life that you are proud to show others.

However, you will never think to list your challenges or all the things that have gone wrong in your career – let alone your life. Yet, it is these missed opportunities and mistakes that can help you learn the most about yourself.

Writing about your failures may seem foreign to you, because as a child you were always rewarded when you did something great or achieved an award. But when you made mistakes or did not achieve your goals, you were made to feel like an outcast in your community.

This fear of failing stayed with you into adulthood, where winning and achieving success became more important. You ignored any mistakes you made and moved on from missed opportunities.

Those missed opportunities and mistakes can help you reflect upon and analyse what happened. Importantly, why you missed out and how you can improve your chances of success the next time a similar situation presents itself.

Your failures are your teachers which help you grow, learn and achieve.

By taking a moment to sit down, reflecting, and writing out a failure resume will allow you to understand more about yourself and provide valuable insight into your future growth and learning.

So, how do you write a failure resume?

Take a moment to acknowledge all that you have achieved and that you got to this point in your life because of you skills, knowledge, capability and experience. Then in your journal (or computer, laptop, tablet device) start a new page and start writing. Make a list of all the mistakes you made and the opportunities you missed out on. These can be anything from projects you turned down, jobs you lost to someone else or even sports teams you were not selected for.

Be Specific

Once you have your list, it is time to list two or three reasons why. First acknowledge that this can be the hardest part. For each item on your list, write down as much information about the event as possible. It is important to be specific here so you can analyse each situation critically. Two key questions you want to ask yourself are: what contributed to you not succeeding and what could you have done differently?

Analysis and Reflection

It does get harder to analyse your failures than to just list them because it involves asking yourself some really tough questions. Those questions can be confronting if you are not expecting them. It is important to be truly honest with yourself at this point if you want to succeed next time an opportunity presents itself. Ask yourself what actions or decisions contributed to those missed opportunities. Did you prepare as well as you could have? Did you sell yourself enough at that job interview? Did you have the right skills or capability to undertake that activity?


Your final step is to work out what you will do differently to empower yourself for success next time a great opportunity presents itself in the future. What will you do differently? How will you prepare yourself? What decisions will you choose to make differently?

Remember when listing and analysing your failures, it is important to focus on WHY something did not happen NOT WHAT the event was.

It doesn’t end there, the failure resume you created is a valuable resource to continually look back on and learn why you missed those opportunities. It will also help remind you of the challenges you overcame to get where you are. Use it as a resource to analyse and understand why you failed and to help you to develop wisdom, build self esteem and improve your personal and emotional freedom.

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