Once again I am met with failure...not my own but I am watching a person close to me endure it, the question is; how will they move through it? We see it every day whether we realize it or not. We didn’t beat our arch enemy in a race, we didn’t complete a piece of work on time or we didn’t win an award we thought we should have won. One of the greatest lessons in life is failure; whether we fail at a test in school or to become a police officer, to gain new business or to earn that much sought after job. We all fail eventually but it’s what we do with failure that will make the difference in our lives going forward.
It’s the moments between action and reaction, the thoughts and feelings you have and how you move through them or whether you choose to stay stuck in them.
Failure is nothing more than a setback, a chance to review what we did wrong and to improve upon it. Failure is the most useful tool that we can ever imagine having in terms of our personal growth. Failure wakes you up to you. Failure stops you dead in your tracks, each and every time. Failure is not a bad word but we have created such negative connotations that go around it. Failure as the dictionary defines it is;
1. Lack of success
2. the omission of expected or required action
Nowhere in the dictionary does it say you will never achieve anything or that you are stupid and life is over. It does say that you didn’t have success in what you were working towards and that you have omitted learning about a specific expected or required action. In other words; YOU MISSED SOMETHING. It says you still need to learn. It doesn’t say anything about quitting or that you won’t succeed. It is telling you to go back and be accountable to what you missed, figure it out and head back towards trying again!!
Victims often cannot see what they should have done differently, they can’t take accountability, and they just see the loss and decide they can’t forge on so they just give up. “I’m not smart enough, fast enough, strong enough.” Above all, they lack perseverance and a deep belief in themselves.
Victors do a few things that create momentum and flow to move forward;
I. They quickly move through the emotions and grief of failures
II. They replay what they did along the way to identify where they went wrong
III. They seek out mentors to emulate, gain advice and learn from
IV. They start to create a plan or a road map around how they can succeed on the next attempt
There are hundreds of examples of extremely famous people that failed numerous times before becoming wildly successful, people that others saw as going nowhere, doing nothing, lacking intelligence and drive.
Here are a few that I think about every time I want to give up on my dreams;
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn't read until he was seven. His teacher described him as "mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams." He was expelled and refused admittance to Zurich Polytechnic School. The University of Bern turned down his Ph.D. dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful.
Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Disney also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland
Thomas Edison's teachers told him he was "too stupid to learn anything." After that, things stayed bleak for a while, as Edison went onto be fired from his first two jobs, for not being suitably productive. Edison went on to hold more than 1,000 patents and invented some world changing devices, like the phonograph, practical electrical lamp, and a movie camera.
Bill Gates: Bill Gates didn't seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn't work, Gates' later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.
I have given you famous people’s names but I know that many successful CEOs and other executives and leaders have suffered many setbacks before rising to the place they are in now. These folks learned from their mistakes and perceived failures and kept on keeping on...they are victors.
Remember, your thoughts become your actions so pay close attention to your thoughts.
If I can reiterate what I have said time and time again in other articles – build a plan, create your goals, have a road map. You don’t get to your destination by aimlessly driving; you get there by having a map and a plan.
Now put on your big girl or boy panties and GO GET ‘EM in a victorious fashion!