Peyton Manning famously said, “It’s not wanting to win that makes you a winner, it’s refusing to fail that makes you a winner.” Michael Jordan encouraged thousands with his monologue of humility when he claims to have missed over 9,000 shots; and when his team was depending on him to make the gaming winning shot, he missed 26 times. Yet he is still arguably revered as the greatest professional basketball player of all time. Tenacity is the word that comes to mind when I think of these athletes, but the truth is still – Failing Sucks!
Come on, you know me by now. There is no political correctness here. Failing is not fun; it hurts; it’s infuriating; and while you certainly should get back on the horse if you fall off, it doesn’t mean that the pain from falling off is going to go away quickly. Actually, far from it. You see the stink from failure can linger for days, weeks, years for some people and that pain, or rather the fear of that pain is often paralyzing. Don’t believe me. Ask any teenage boy why he does not just walk up and talk to the girl he’s been staring at and ask her out. Ask any entrepreneur that talks about her Shark Tank’s ideas all the time but she is stuck in a dead end, do nothing job, because the fear of failure is enough to leave her catatonic.
So, now that we are all sufficiently depressed, let’s look for the light in this message.
I have 4 steps in this equation that will help you any situation where failure is a possibility.
1. Admission: Step one is to admit. Admit that there is no success without some level of risk and go ahead and acknowledge that failure is not only a possibility but a probability.
That’s a weird way to start a journey isn’t it? “Okay team I hope everyone is ready because we are going to change the world and oh by the way we are likely going to fail, perhaps miserably, but that’s not going to stop us!
2. Action: Step two is the gut wrenching and utterly terrifying act of taking a step. You cannot improve results until you HAVE results!
If you are like me, this literally took me standing in front of the mirror looking at myself saying, “You might fail, if you do that’s okay, take good notes and try again.” Unless you are sky diving or riding a motorcycle over the Grand Canyon or walking a tight rope with no harness, then your failure will not kill you. So after you have accepted the fact that failure is likely, then you need to take a step!
3. Reflection: Step three is to take time, at set intervals, to reflect on everything that just happened.
For me, I schedule these times as part of my goal setting, and they are flexible. i.e. If I fail before the allotted time period then I will reflect immediately. I hate when that happens. But if the project is moving along I try to make short term goals that I can evaluate regularly to identify my progression. Remember sometimes these phases move so fast that going to a coffee shop and sitting down with the music blaring in your headphones is not an option. Reflection should be intentional but does not have to be formal. Put down your phone, close your laptop and take 5-10 minutes to figure out where you are, what you have accomplished and where your next step is. Then BOOM! Right back at the grind!!!
4. REDO: Step 4 and the last step is to redo it! If you failed don’t do it the same way, if you didn’t fail then redo it the same way or an even better way!!!!
Generally, in life, the goals and projects that we are working on will take persistence, simply meaning that we are not just doing them once. So, whether your goals are met or you failed so badly that it’s actually hard to tell what you were trying to do, do it again! Perfect it, push the boundaries, and keep going. If you get scared, see step one and start again!
The reason for this entire post is simple. I have 2 emotions – HAPPY and ASLEEP and when failure introduces sadness, frustration, anger, or anything except happiness or asleepidness (I know that’s not a word) it can mess with my head and sometimes I need reminding that I am bigger than that. I would imagine that many of you are the same and to you I say, failure is not an indicator of how good you are at something, it is only an indicator how good you were at something in that one single attempt. Don’t be afraid to fail, be more afraid of never doing anything that matters.
Caleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
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