I love to fail…SIKE! Failing SUCKS! I’m not a huge fan of all of the ‘You should love to fail culture’ stuff out there. In fact, I hate losing. It hurts, wastes time and uses valuable resources. But I do believe in the value of the lessons learned from failure; the diamonds in the rough you have to find. Even though I truly hate the idea of failure and am often paralyzed while making a decision by it, I push forward. It happens- ALL THE TIME.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford.
Failure only exists when you actually stop trying. If you keep going, they are just merely setbacks or opportunities to learn.
If you were to ask most any successful person in your life what single most impactful lesson they were taught in business, what do you think it would be? Something positive that happened to them when they were just getting started? Getting a raise? Knocking a project out of the park? Closing a huge sales deal? Probably not.
I’ve always heard/read the saying that people on their death bed never regret the stuff they did, but always the things they never had the courage to try. Think about that, wouldn’t that be terrible though?
How many times in your life have you wanted to do something you didn’t do for no other reason than just not making it happen? Wanted to go somewhere? Wanted to read something? Wanted to try a new workout? Wanted to go paragliding? Wanted to write a book? Wanted to start a new company? Wanted to climb Mt. Everest? Wanted to donate 1 million dollars?
Why didn’t you? Because you were scared? ….Scared of what? It’s not that most people are scared to fail. It’s that most people are scared to fail and then be judged by others for failing. What if you knew that you could try something that you’ve always wanted to do and if you failed, no one would find out? Would you do it?
OF COURSE YOU WOULD! So, I’ve put together some thoughts and experiences on failing (and failing often) that I use as a guidepost when things get really tough! In fact, I’m a professional in failing.
6 Tips for Being a Great FAILURE
1 | No RAGERTS
(God, I love that movie). But seriously, NO Regrets! We have a VERY limited amount of time on this earth! GO, DO, & TRY! Take (calculated) risks and if you fail, learn from it and keep moving towards your goals. The failures you have should be the lessons you learn. The successes you have should be the validation of the lessons you have learned.
2 | Develop a growth mindset
With the mindset above, always be growing and learning. When do you really learn what “hot” means? When you burn your hand on the stove as a baby. As adults, we think that once we get done with school, that’s it. I learned more in the first year out of school than the ones in school. Be a voracious reader. Pay attention to the failures. Create and AAR (after action report) of the failure and point out what went wrong and make a note not to do it again!
3 | Absolute failure is NOT option
Always think about why things CAN happen and not why they can’t. When you shift your perspective, you change your mind. So many great ideas I hear are only discussed in the “What’s wrong with it” tense, and in the end everyone throws their hands up and walks away.
4 | Be flexible.
“Because we’ve always done it this way” is probably the worst way to think about anything in life. ALWAYS, always look for the angle you haven’t yet realized. If at first you don’t succeed, create your AAR, create a new plan and go after it again!
5 | Manage yourself by staying focused and motivated.
Failing isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. And the only way to get through that failure is to focus on the carrot in front of you. Most of the time we start out on a new project with great gusto and determination, but after a few missteps, we just slowly fade away. Plan your work, work your plan. Assess your plan, make necessary change, and then get back to work.
6 | Don’t be a victim.
That’s it. When things go wrong, and they will go wrong, you can’t adopt a woe-is-me attitude and feelings of defeat. No one likes an Eeyore moping around.
Get out and do! Take that class, schedule that meeting, write that plan! Stop waiting because NO ONE is going to do it for you. Ready….Action!