10 Ways to Use Failure as Motivation


April 29, 2014 • How To, Inspiration, Life Tips

I “failed” auditions for a dance group I wanted to be in, but guess what? That’s okay.

I am writing this to you as I commute to work, NJTransit and all. It’s cloudy out and there’s a highly likely chance that it will rain. I have a raincoat, thank God.

So let’s get to the topic I wanted to write about: FEAR & MOTIVATION.

Last Saturday, I auditioned to be a Brukwine Girl. Brukwine is a reggae heels fitness class that I take from time to time in NYC. I’ve been taking it for about two years now.  It’s sensual, sexy, and a kickass workout. The founders Tavia and Tamara are looking to build their brand. Here’s an ad for the auditions they posted on Instagram:


You see, I REALLY wanted to be a Brukwine girl. REALLY bad.  All through college I danced full-time in a hip hop dance company. I missed the physical exertion, the camaraderie of a dance family, and of course the fun.

This was my chance I thought.

So I went to auditions. Here’s some pictures of me from auditions:

rana campbell brukwine-auditions




The verdict? Did I make it?

I took a lot of time trying to get the “look” right:


This was the real deal. The judges (including one of Beyonce’s backup dancers- Miss Ksyn)  looked us at us girls blank- faced and delivered amongst themselves.

One of the judges came up to each of the girls and whispered in our ears our futures.

I received a “thank you”.

I didn’t make it. I got cut on the first round.

To tell you the truth, I was sad. Tears rolled down my eyes as I walked out the dance studio. My body was super sore. I didn’t feel like I’d make it back the three blocks to Penn Station. I wanted to shake the strangers making their way past me and ask ” WHY DIDN’T I MAKE IT?!?!”

Later in the day, thanks to the kind words of people dear to me (Thanks Coretta, Damali, and Drew), I realized not making it into Brukwine was not the end of the world.

Here are 10 ways You Can Use Failure as Motivation.

(These are actually some of the next steps I thought of after I stopped being sad about my presumed “failed” Brukwine audition.)

1. Brush up on your skills. The first thing I realized while I was learning the audition routine was , “Damn, I’m out of shape for dance!” I hadn’t danced in a few weeks so my body was physically hurting learning the moves. Next time (and in hindsight I was pretty silly for not doing this), I will make sure to take classes and get my body acclimated to the style and intensity before I audition. Conditioning is a skill in dance that one needs to work on to become better (and before auditioning.)

2. Give yourself praise for what you did accomplish. Heck, I auditioned. There were probably a lot of girls out there who didn’t audition because they were nervous. I  was nervous, yeah, but I did not let that stop me. I’m proud of myself for even going to auditions. I have guts. Go me. Think about the courage you took in even attempting. Give yourself a pat on the back. You rock.

3.  Be better prepared next time. I forgot my dance resume and headshot. To tell you the truth, I didn’t have a “dance” resume. This is something that is standard for dance auditions. I failed to do my research and wasn’t prepared. I’m not sure if it hurt my audition, but it definitely (or probably) made the judges  look at me as not taking the audition seriously. If I were them, that’s what I would think. Could you do something to be better prepared the next time you enter into a situation?

4. Think about what you learned about yourself. During the auditions, I realized I have the tendency to compare myself to others. In the holding routine, I looked around the room at all the beautiful girls in the room and thought I wasn’t good enough. I now know that I NEED TO CUT THAT SHIT out of my thinking. Comparison can be self-loathing in disguise. I am good enough. I am worthy. Sometimes under pressure, I tend to not believe in my self. If you do this too, STOP DOING IT. The more self-awareness you can uncover in life, the better you will be at learning how to navigate the silent talk that goes on in your head that may actually be hurting you.

5. See the evolution. This wasn’t my first time auditioning to be a Brukwine girl. I auditioned last year and didn’t make it then either. Did I get better from then? Definitely. I was more confident. I performed better, had more stamina and confidence when dancing. How have you evolved in the pursuit of whatever you  are going after? Focus on the evolutionary process and revel in the happiness you’ll get from knowing that one can only get better. Here’s a pic of me from the last auditions:


P.S (My outfit was even better this time…)

 6. Prove yourself right. Sometimes other people may be co-signing your failure. Do you know of someone who has discouraged you rom pursuing your dreams? While what other people think about you  shouldn’t matter, sometimes people need to be checked. If someone is downing you, eliminate them from the discussion. Don’t allow what other people think stop you. I bet there’s somebody out there who is saying, “Rana had no business even trying to audition for Brukwine. She has no time!” Who is control of your life? YOU.  Ultimately, you can prove yourself right and that’s all that matters. If you are on a mission to succeed every failure turns into a catalyst for your next step.

7. Evaluate how much you really want it and why. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want? Sometimes failure brings out our true motivations. After failing a lot, we may realize that the dream is not as strong as we once believed. Sometimes it’s good to realize when the spark is dying and your energy is waning. If you find yourself thinking that you don’t really want it (and make sure this isn’t just a bout of a lack of confidence and justification for a failure), maybe think about what it is that you REALLY want. Did I want to be a Brukwine girl because I wanted to dance with a group of talented girls or did I really just want to be part of a group of girls that danced dancehall? When you reframe your goals in this way, you can then spot new avenues for accomplishing.

8.Pivot if necessary. Sometimes it’s good to channel a failure into a new energy. For instance, let’s say that I keep trying out for Brukwine and never get in. What if I realize that I really don’t want to be a Brukwine girl but want to help spread dancehall music and dance to a larger audience. This could be my actually SHINING point. Think of all the possibilities and avenues for fulfilling this! (THERE ARE SO MANY!) Be welcoming to new pathways that may form from supposed “failures.” Know your motivations and what it is that you are really seeking from any opportunity you are seeking.

9.Remeber:  “Failure” isn’t real. Remove it from your vocabulary and replace it with “motivation.” Even though I didn’t make it, I had a lot of fun learning a new routine. I had fun, in general, just dancing around other people that loved dance as much as I do.  To sum this up, savor this:

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. – C.S. Lewis

10. Try again. If there’s one thing that failure should do is serve as the impetus for you to try again. Didn’t complete that 5k you were training for? Try again. Your girlfriend break up with you? Get a new one. Nothing is ever cemented in stone. Just because something doesn’t work out the first time, doesn’t mean that the stars will never be in your favor. Just keep trying. Keep achieving. Keep learning.  As the great singer Aaliyah once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again!”

So will I be auditioning to be a  Brukwine Girl the next time they hold auditions? You bet!

P.S Here’s some more links to articles about using failure as motivation or to succeed if you are interested:

9 Reasons to Embrace Failure

How to Use Failure To Succeed

How to Turn Failure into an Advantage

How have you used failure as a form of motivation? I’m curious and would love to know.

Stay tuned for next week’s How To Tuesdays!

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Rana Campbell is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Ranacampbell.com, a site dedicated to personal branding and helping people learn how to SHINE in their personal and professional lives.
  • Cielo

    Hi, I really love this article. Thanks for making my day. I’m so sad because I failed in dance audition. I really love to be one of the Site dancers but I wasn’t able to make it. I don’t know what I’ve missed. I’ve cried yesterday and out of my mind when I saw my friend posted that she passed the audition. I’ve cried and cried and I felt that’s the end of the world. 🙁 But, thanks to this link http://ranacampbell.com/2014/04/29/10-ways-to-use-failure-as-motivation/ which motivates me from failure. I failed and guess what? that’s okay.