I Feel Like a Failure

Q: I am a singer and every competition I have entered I have not placed. I feel like a failure. How should I deal with this?


I know this can be frustrating and disappointing. I have also felt the disappointment of not placing in a competition. We can’t always choose the circumstances but we can always choose our actions, reactions and beliefs. Let me share what helps me move through challenging circumstances.

First, write on a piece of paper: circumstance (what happened) and choices (all the choices you have from the circumstance – both negative and positive).

I will show you what I mean by giving you an example. Feel free to add your own.


I didn’t place in the competitions I entered.

Choices: (both negative and positive)

A) Give up my love of singing.

B) Believe in myself. Put in the effort by practicing and working on my voice and stage presence.

C) Blame the judges. They don’t know what they are talking about.

D) Find a singing coach to help support me to be the best I can be.

At first, most of us are drawn to choice A and C because of emotions like anger, sadness and frustration. Staying with those choices will hold you back from learning and growing. Feeling upset and angry is normal, but choose to release them in healthy ways like: writing, talking to someone, punching/screaming into a pillow, singing loudly, dancing, taking deep breaths, playing sports etc. Hanging onto those emotions will stop you from choosing choices B and D.  Also, hanging onto those emotions will hold you back from seeing the gifts from this circumstance.

‘Gifts – you must be kidding? How can I possibly find anything good out of this upsetting circumstance?’

At first it seems impossible, but there is always something to be grateful for if we look hard enough. This is the second part of the process:

Finding the Gifts: (examples)

  • Your family has shown you a lot of love and support.
  • You have identified new areas of improvement.
  • You have enjoyed the trips to the competitions along with the socializing.
  • You have met new friends.

It can be easy to get caught up in the negative BUT choose to redirect your thoughts so that you can focus on the gifts. Focusing on what you are grateful for will help you ‘bounce back’ from the challenges and give you a new perspective and a feeling of empowerment.

Now write down three gifts you believe you have received from this circumstance. When you change your focus, you change your world!

Until next time…


P.S. Wise words from a student in grade 6 who wrote in her UPower Journal:
‘I choose to be someone who sees negativity as a ladder to my dreams.’