We don't fail.
This is the notion that I grew up on. Failure is not an option. And because failure was unacceptable, I created an incessant need to be perfect. If I couldn't guarantee the win, I'd opt out altogether.
I really wish I hadn't taken that no failure thing so literal. I definitely tried to live up to that standard as both a child and a young adult.
I bet you guessed it! I couldn't.
Never mind failure not being an option. It was inevitable. I failed in a few things, more than a few times and I hated that. So instead of pursuing accomplishments, I settled for sure wins. Spoiler alert: There's rarely any joy in settling. If I'm honest, I've missed out on a lot of amazing opportunities simply for the sake of avoiding failure.
But there is so much to learn if we would instead embrace what we run from. Sometimes we give failure a lot less credit than it deserves. Where would a lot of us be without it's nudge? Some of the greatest success stories come from people who failed at their first attempts. Some of our greatest lessons come from those who have failed us.
Listen, it's easy to celebrate when we get it right, as one should! I'm here to tell you that you deserve a a sip of bubbly for the times you got it wrong too. Why? Because you tried and that's worth something.
The greatest innovators have failed more times than the skeptic has ever even tried.
I think we work so hard to avoid failure because we tie our identity into what is simply a moment. It is not who we are. When we take on failures as a flaw in who we are, versus an experience, we miss what it's showing us because of what we've chosen to see. We decide to quit or avoid, when failure simply indicates to try again, differently.
It is so important that we remember to shift our perspective and understanding when it comes to failure and what it contributes to our story.
I would not in any way be a professional speaker, strategist or consultant had it not been for the various moments of "failure" that I have experienced. I really struggled with my failures and I began to measure my gifts and abilities on how I perceived my capacity for success. At one point I figured if I failed in all these areas I must not be cut out for it at all. Luckily my desire for entrepreneurship wouldn't allow me to quit altogether. So I simply kept failing. I got comfortable with failing because it was now quitting that was no longer an option for me. I knew what I wanted for my life. I just had a lot to learn to get there.
14 different business attempts to be exact. 16 years of failing at it to be exact.
(Cause ya girl is still failing. lol)
To someone that seems like a red flag to let the dream go. To me, it means I have paid my dues! I don't allow people to tell me how to do things that they've never tried. I don't fault people for attempting something and failing. Even if the results were not what they desired, they've gained something from it. In reality, my ability to fail and collect the lessons it taught me along the way is actually what sets me apart. I can speak from experience what others attempt to do through theory. I've built my business, created new projects, and gained more opportunities because of where failure led me. As a professional, these experiences have saved my clients time, money, and energy by using what I'd experienced. They trust my judgement because I'm transparent about where I've been. I could offer them not only my know-how but the results of my experience. I'm only able to do that because I tried.
When I got comfortable with failing I got braver. Failure ain't nothing but strength training for the next adventure. Failure doesn't tell you to quit it simply tells you, "Wrong door." That's all! Stop letting the potential of a fail punk you out of what you dream to do.
Failure is your friend.
That one shift in how I saw failure and its relation to my calling helped me to pay attention.
So look at your life and failures. Stop trying to bury the disappointment of a failed attempt and face it. Don't try to brush it under the rug because you feel defeated. Use it as a resource.
What didn't work?
What could have been done better?
In the failed attempt, what did you do really well? Should you focus more on that?
Are the things that went really well in your attempt an indicator of where you should place more energy?
Don't underestimate the power or advantage of failure...
Failure is trying to help you. Failure has given me experience, hands on experience, if nothing else. If I had never failed I would be in a cubicle somewhere with unfulfilling tasks for someone else's assignment. Instead I'm here telling my story and turning the light bulb on in someone else's mind. Yeah, failure did that!
So stop beating yourself up about the times you have failed. Failure is proof that you tried. It happened. It's done. You now have more experience for your next move... Fail and fail fast. Get back up. Fail again. The best of what you desire is after the lesson of your last failure.
Let's toast to that!