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5 Questions to ask when you think you have failed.

I am currently working with a teenage girl who has lost her confidence and ability to bounce back, when doing one of the exercises in her Equine Facilitated Learning sessions with Harness Change, she didn't manage to get the horse (Queenie) to complete an exercise. What came out of it after questioning her was this statement: "I'm convinced if I have anything to do with it, I will fail." The root cause of her problem, and many others like her.


A lack of confidence is a recurring problem in young people and can continue through into adulthood. The sooner you can regulate and overcome your fear of failing, the more successful you will become.


"I'm convinced if I have anything to do with it, I will fail."

Here are 5 things you can do to help overcome this hurdle:


1. Be clear on what success looks like. What do I need to achieve to be successful?

Before attempting something, take a moment to imagine what completing the task successfully looks like. Keep it simple. The more complex it becomes the harder it is to achieve. A common method of setting a goal like this is to use the SMART goals technique.


S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Achievable

R – Realistic

T - Time-based


Once you have set your idea of success you have a clear idea of what you need to achieve it.


2. Review your work, how did you do out of 10?

Once you have completed the task, review it. A good way to measure your success might be to score yourself out of 10 on how well you managed to do against your success criteria.

When working with the young girl through our coaching sessions, she consistently marked herself at around a 5/10. The next challenge is to assess whether the score you have given yourself is realistic to what happened.


3. What can you improve?

Giving yourself a 5/10 is fine if you can identify what you would need to improve to get a 10/10. Justifying your score and identifying how you can make up the 5 points you deducted yourself is important. You may find yourself putting a lot of weight on getting one thing wrong which in the big picture isn’t that important.


4. Are you adding to the criteria?

When you set your success goal you had specific criteria to measure yourself against. When you score yourself, did you notice that you added extra criteria, that you didn’t achieve, to justify scoring yourself low? This is a common trap to fall into when you lack the belief that you can be successful, you simply find ways to make yourself unsuccessful thus confirming that you failed that task. Don’t let yourself do this! Stick to your success criteria that were decided upon by yourself or that were given to you.


5. Practice makes perfect…

Like any ingrained habit, repetition is the best way to develop a new behaviour. Asking those who are setting you tasks, your line manager or tutor, to help you set the criteria and review it aafterwardsan be beneficial.


Following this basic set and review system can help you view your performance objectively without letting your doubts or lack of confidence get in the way. Eventually, you will start to see the value that you add, and the number of successes you achieve, and you will start to believe that you can be successful! Growing your confidence is a hard thing to master but with practice, you will soon believe in your own abilities.


These techniques were beneficial to the young girl who received the one-to-one facilitated coaching through our Harness Change Alternative Education program and we are still on the journey of confidence building and self-belief.




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