According to a 2017 study, seven in 10 girls avoid trying new things because they are scared of failure. Here’s 5 ways you can show your daughter that failure isn’t anything to be afraid of and, in fact, why it can be a good thing!

By Ashley Good

THE NEW YEAR OFFERS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR SELF-REFLECTION AND GOAL-SETTING for the months ahead. But could this become an occasion to have an important conversation with our kids too?

Getting teen girls to try new things can be challenging. They often prefer to hang out with close friends, chat online, watch their favourite shows, or stick to activities that they are very good at or comfortable with. In itself, this behaviour is not necessarily a bad thing, but if girls increasingly shy away from trying something different or new, it can lead them to have less confidence to challenge themselves to try and reach for goals they really want, no matter what the risks are.

According to a recent survey from Always #LikeAGirl*, a fear of failure leads seven in 10 girls to avoid trying new things, but if they felt that failure was OK, they would keep doing the things they loved, take on more challenges and grow in confidence. Furthermore, the study found that half of girls feel paralyzed by the fear of failure. To help girls overcome this, why not kick off the New Year with a conversation about what they really want to do, set their sights on great goals, and help them manage their fear of failure and ways to overcome it?


Help her discover what she would find so important, interesting and fun, that even if she fails it would be worth it. Channeling her focus on what she’s passionate about helps create strength and energy to rebound, if things don’t go as planned at first. After all, we only truly fail when we don’t even try. Find out what is stopping her. Have her write down the goals or activities she’s afraid of doing and then take a few minutes to discover all the reasons and excuses she can think of to account for why she hasn’t done it yet. Next, encourage her to think of the most courageous person she knows—someone she looks up to, who doesn’t care what others think and does what they think is right. What would that courageous person say about her reasons and excuses? What would they tell her to do? How would they get her to try to overcome her fears?

Show her that she’s probably overestimating the likelihood and consequence of failure as well as society’s expectation for perfection. Approximately, 85 per cent of Canadian girls feel pressure to please others and be perfect, but it’s important to remind her that she can be herself and not fear failure. Once she decides to go for it, do all you can to help her prepare. Who isn’t terrified of public speaking, or losing the big game? By practicing and preparing she can know that she did her best and maximized her chances of being awesome.

So she failed a test, didn’t make the basketball team, or just did something she regrets. Encourage her to use the experience to show her where she needs to focus her energies, how she can improve, or what she could do differently next time. Your reaction plays a huge role on how she perceives it. Think of failure not as a lack of success, but as a teachable moment.

Failures do not define who you are, they are important steps to keep learning and growing. Just because you failed, does not mean you are a failure. If you help your daughter understand this, she can beat the statistics and learn to Keep Going #LikeAGirl. ■

Ashley Good is a failure expert and Always #LikeAGirl Ambassador from Toronto, Ontario. She is the founder of Fail Forward the world’s first failure consultancy. Since 2011, they’ve helped hundreds of individuals and businesses harness failure in order to learn, innovate and build resilience.

*The Always Confidence & Puberty Wave V Study was conducted by MSLGROUP using the Research Now Panel and surveyed a total of 1,000 Canadians. The survey was conducted among a sample of 1,000 females aged 16 to 24 year old. The survey was implemented between the dates of April 5, 2017 through April 12, 2017. The survey was also conducted in the US, surveying a total of 1,500 Americans (1,000 females and 500 males aged 16-24) between March 9, 2017 and March 24, 2017.