The Art of Failure
“Failure is not an option!” If you grew up in the time period as myself, this was the mantra handed down to me from coaches, teachers, leaders, and bosses. Winning was the goal and failing was not in the picture.
The problem is this statement left me with a warped view of success. Yes, I want to succeed and do my best. But I have failed far more times than I have succeeded at anything in my life? Does that mean I have not experienced success? No! It simply means I need to take a better look at my failures in order to learn more about how to succeed properly.
Learning from Failure
This past week I was on a client site preparing for several meetings. But within the span of a couple of hours no one shows up to a luncheon we were going to present. A potential candidate for a crucial sales role backed out a few hours before the interview. And another potential client cancelled a lunch. All of these activities were the reasons I had flown down to visit this client.
We could have just sat there and been sad over this miserable failure of a day. But instead we took some initiative and pivoted our thinking. I went to Target and bought some small gift bags. We spent the afternoon filling the bags with pens, brochures, candy, and other goodies. Then we went out into the blistering hot Phoenix sun and began to hand out the bags in offices where we thought we were a good fit for our services.
This is why you need to learn to fail in style. The only way failure is not an option is to not try. But you want to try, you want to experience more, learn more, and ultimately succeed. This is why it is important for you to learn how to fail in style.
Know You Will Experience Failure
No matter how well you plan there will be pitfalls. Especially if you are working in a new area or venture. Success is not so much determined by the one avenue you take. But by how many times you are willing to get up off the mat and keep moving toward your dream.
Know going into any adventure that there will be setbacks, disappointments, and failures. Use this mindset to remind yourself the failure is not a dead-end sign, but simply a detour. A small glitch in the overall plan. By creating this mindset your failures will not lead to frustrations but opportunities.
Make sure you plan no matter what the endeavor. But make sure you plan for the failures as well. In other words, don’t be afraid to always have a plan B ready in your back pocket. Some people will state this is counterproductive as you are taking momentum away from your original plan. But this is not the case.
You are creating your backup plan for the purpose of not derailing your pursuits. If you put all your fruit in one basket and it comes crashing down. Will it leave you devastated? What if you kept some of the fruit aside for another run at your goal? How different would it make you feel when the basket crashed? This i the point.
You never want to put yourself in a situation where you get completely taken out. Your backup plan could be an actual plan, a time of meditation, stepping back and rethinking, or exercise. The point is you want to be able to have some mechanism in place which will keep you from being detailed in your pursuits.
The only true failure is one not reflected upon properly. You need to be able to reflect upon your failures at all times to gain perspective. No one showing up to our luncheon was not anyone’s fault. You cannot control other people’s actions. Which can, nonetheless, cause something you worked hard for to fail.
By spending some time reflecting upon what happened we learned we should do a few things differently up front. The end result was great for our planning and future execution. We could have gotten upset at the way the situation unfolded. But we would have missed an important opportunity to keep moving forward with momentum and purpose.
This is not too complicated of a process. Know you want to live life to its fullest and in order to succeed you will experience some failures along the way. But you are playing the long games and ultimately setting yourself up for success. Because you want to live a Thrival Life no matter where you land.
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