The Power of FailureMay 06, 2022
Have you ever tried something and failed? Have you ever felt like you couldn't succeed, no matter how hard you try? Is your fear of failure sometimes greater than your desire to succeed?
If so, you are not alone. We have all faced failure at some point in our lives, and fortunately, failure is a powerful force when we understand and use it to our advantage.
So, grab yourself a glass of water. And make sure you have a pen and paper handy so you are ready to take notes! In the next few minutes, I will be revealing to you …
The Power of Failure
I was voted least likely to succeed … by my own parents. But fortunately for me, the great thing about having parents that didn't think I would amount to anything is that it freed me from having to live up to other people's unrealistic expectations.
And those were unrealistic expectations. Because as Einstein said, "if you are going to judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid."
But what Einstein might not have known is that thinking you are stupid doesn't make you stupid. Just like experiencing failure doesn't make you a failure. I did think I was stupid, but it didn't stop me from desiring to improve my lot in life.
What is your relationship with failure? What stories come up when you think about your failures in life?
You might be thinking things along the line of not being good enough, feeling hopeless and maybe even wanting to give up.
And while failure can involve those thoughts and emotions, failure can also make us stronger or wiser. It is certainly my story.
Starting out unlikely to succeed set me up for success in many ways. For one, I didn't fear failure. Well, I did, of course, like everyone else, but since I thought I was already there, there was really only one direction to take: up. So instead of staying down, it drove me to keep moving forward or up from depts of failure I thought I inherited by birth. It forced me to keep trying.
That's because while we all define success differently, most people do desire success in some way. Being labelled least likely to succeed didn't cure me from desiring success.
Quite the contrary, it might have driven me more towards it.
At some point, I became so good at failing that I hardly hit the ground when I stumbled. I got really good at getting back up quickly.
I found out that a person's relationship to failure is the most significant determining factor in whether or not that person will succeed. Unfortunately, most people put more energy into their fear of failure than their desire to succeed.
Is that true for you? Does your fear of failure keep you from taking action?
Let's check out the definition of failure. The dictionary defined failure as "An act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; (in other words) lack of success."
Did you catch that? It defines failure as an act or instance. Failure does not define a person in any way. Yet how many people think failure means something about them?
My definition of failure was inspired by Thomas Edison, the light bulb inventor. While there are many conflicting stories of how many times Edison "failed" at inventing what we know today as the light bulb, most agree it was in the thousands before he found the right combination of materials to make his experiment succeed.
One of Edison's most famous quotes, as he worked on his invention and repeatedly faced failure, is, "I have not failed. I've just found another way that doesn't work. I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded brings me one step closer to finding one that will work."
Did you catch that?
He didn't think of his unsuccessful attempts as a failure. Instead, he thought of them as a way it would not work. And he thought that every attempt only got him closer to his goal of finding a way that does work.
And that is precisely the attitude you need to adopt to overcome any fear you might have of failure. You must see failure as a stepping stone towards the manifestation of your deepest dreams and desires, and just another way it will not work on the path to finding what will work.
The truth is, you only fail when you give up! As long as you keep trying, you're successful.
Experience also taught me that success is doing what you want to do at any given moment. If you experiment to create something, there is no failure, even if you have not created anything of value. Because you are doing exactly what you want to do
And there are many examples in history of people who repeatedly failed before they found success, but we do not think of them as failures, now do we? No, because it's not about the number of times a person has failed. It's all about their perseverance until they find a desirable outcome.
I want you to keep persevering until you find a favourable outcome too.
That's why I pulled together 7 tips to empower you to look at failure differently:
- Redefine failure. In the words of Robert Schuller, "Failure doesn't mean you're a failure; it just means you haven't succeeded yet." And just as we saw in the dictionary definition, it doesn't say anything about you; it only defines the act or situation. So free yourself of past failures, so you can figure out a favourable outcome.
- There is no such thing as failure. Some successful people do not even ascribe to failure at all. Tony Robbins says, "The only thing that keeps you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself about why you cannot have it." And Robert Kiyosaki says, "Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn."
- Failure builds character. Failure helps you become the person you need to be to hold the dream or desire you are pursuing. So, don't quit too early. Most obstacles you face are there to build your character, not to stop you.
- Failure helps you learn. Failure is a gauge to help you shift direction when something is not working and increase your odds of finding a way that does work. So pay attention and continue to correct course as you go until you achieve the desired results.
- Failure is an event. It doesn't define you. Failure is what happened at a moment in time. It is a process. It doesn't define you as a person unless you let it define you by quitting on yourself. William D. Brown said it this way, "Failure is an event, never a person."
- Failure is never final. Just because you were defeated doesn't mean that you can't try again. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Never confuse a single defeat with final defeat." Your mistakes help propel you through life to try something new. They help you climb the ladder of success.
- Failure is unavoidable. You cannot achieve true success without having faced failure in your life. Failure is the gateway to innovation and success. Failure is the price you pay for success.
I have failed so many times with no one to throw a pity party for me that it taught me to get up quickly. In fact, I have had friends point out on several occasions that I got up so quickly after a difficult fall that they never saw me hit the ground at all. Most people would let those defeats keep them down for days, weeks or months.
Too often, the difference between people who succeed and those who fail is the amount of time they stay down feeling sorry for themselves.
Just because you've failed once, twice or 1,000 times at something, it doesn't mean you're a failure. It just means you have not yet found a way that works. The only failure is giving up and not keeping on trying until you figure out how it IS possible.
Failure really is just a perception. Our minds are meaning-making machines. It is how we make sense of the world. But failure is only one of many possible interpretations available. And just as easily as you assign the meaning that failure defines you, you can redefine it to empower you.
No matter what you're trying to succeed at, whether it's a sport, project, career, invention, relationship, or at school, there will be times when you don't succeed. But you mustn't let that stop you from reaching your goals, dreams, and desires. Failure is a stepping stone, not a wall.
The common thread in all success stories is that you can't have success without failure. Never give up and never stop trying. There is power in failure if you use it to your advantage.
Now it's your turn; share your relationship to failure in the comments. When you put your thoughts and ideas into words and share your experience, you gain deeper clarity and increase their power to change your life and the life of others as well. You are a role model for all of your life experiences so far. Trust the power you have to change your life and the life of those around you by sharing your life experience.
The journey continues every day. That's why I create these trainings. We have to take the time to reconnect to ourselves and remind ourselves of who we are, our innermost desires and longings and then step boldly forward to make an impact out in the world.
It matters. Because YOU matter.
You are worthy of taking up space and living an extraordinary life. Someone is waiting for you to live out your purpose because when you do, you give them the permission they need to do it also.
An extraordinary life is not for the few "lucky" individuals - it is for YOU. That's why you are here right now. You know deep down in your heart that it's for you. So don't let the fear of failure limit you. Choose to take an imperfect and messy step forward from where you are right now.
If any of this resonates with you, you want help to overcome your fears, and you are ready to invest in yourself, let's talk. Click the link below to schedule a complimentary transformation session with me. Let's connect and work together to figure out the highest possibility for your life. Let's get you out of fear into clarity and action.
Remember that the only failure is not trying or giving up, so take action. Make the time. Schedule a call.
I look forward to connecting with you.
Is there something holding you back? Do you feel stuck, ashamed, unlovable, unworthy or depressed? Do you long to transform your life and create what you truly desire most?
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