I do not believe in failure. The most successful people I know will admit they’ve all hit bumps in the road, suffered major setbacks along the way, and learned from each of those experiences.
Michael Jordan admits, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Why I don’t believe in failure…
Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Teddy Roosevelt claimed, “the person who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything!”
So now do you believe me? You can’t separate the successes from the failures. It’s all part of the same journey. The next time you get knocked down, it may be hard at first, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy the journey a lot more if you get up and try again.
By carrying around a lot of bitterness and anger, you’ll never lead a full life. Forgive, forget and move on.
I’ve quoted some pretty impressive people here, all of whom accomplished great things. They did it one step at a time, learning with each interaction, every encounter and conversation.
These people weren’t born with the answers; they fumbled their way through it just like the rest of us. When they reached a good place, people started quoting them—like Charles F. Kettering, who said, “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
Or H. Ross Perot who said, “When building a team, I always search first for people who love to win. If I can’t find any of those, I look for people who hate to lose.” That’s the entrepreneurial spirit!
Own your failures
It reminds me of the 80s when Wall Street was the place to be. The answer of choice, when asked in interviews what your weaknesses is, was to say “kryptonite.”
I think if men and women were being interviewed today about when they stumbled, the best response would be to admit you’ve missed the last shot at the buzzer. Then tell them why next time you’ll make it instead.
Show what you learned from the experience. Show how you’ve reflected on the lessons and what steps you’ve taken to course- correct from now on. I think the best people put themselves out there knowing they might not always win, but they’ve trained hard. They did their homework and prepared for the moment to shine.
Don’t fear failure
Don’t be scared to fail your way to success. Turns out, that’s the way it’s done.
My husband always jokes about the four stages of roasting pine nuts: not done, not done, not done, burnt. How do you get them perfectly roasted?
Practice! Nobody’s born with an Olympic Gold Medal or Academy Award.
When you find intrinsic motivation from a sense of joy, purpose, and mastery, you’re on the right track. It doesn’t matter how many times you experience failure. Just keep failing until you succeed!
Once you realize you have the power within you to attract the kind of success you want, you can begin focusing on the positive options in front of you at every juncture.
Choose your crowd wisely
By cutting out the copycats and imposters around me, I created time, space and energy. Then I could focus on the innovators and big thinkers. This helped me build more opportunities and work in a better ecosystem to pursue my dreams.
Entrepreneurs need to be careful and specific about what they wish for. Hitting a certain revenue goal can be attainable, but achieving that milestone with colleagues of questionable ethics isn’t worth it.
When people around you don’t think the rules apply to them, it’s time to find a different sandbox to play in. Walking away from toxic people is not a failure.
Outstanding leaders don’t create followers
Instead, they develop other leaders who inspire greatness in those around them.
This year, I started paying attention to those who lead and inspire versus those who merely execute well. I appreciate working with people who give more than they take. They don’t keep score. These people laugh every day and leave a little something extra in every encounter.
Both personally and professionally, I was fortunate to work with true artisans. The people who are passionate about what they do. I look for those qualities in all aspects of my life—from the roofer and his son who put new shingles on our home, to the carpentry crew who found the perfect paint colors.
Even the gardening team who created an enchanted forest full of color and life in our yard. Each of these tradespeople is passionate about their gifts and show pride in their work.
So when I hear a press release with no heart in their words, I know it’s time to let go and move on. Clients can tell the difference between someone who just delivers versus a professional who really cares. Being technically competent is expected, but it’s not enough today.
When you find professionals who show they care about what they do, hold on to them like gold. Let the others go quickly; life is too short for mediocre or disingenuous people.
Get organized and celebrate success
The days of wasting time looking for important papers or rummaging through storage are over. Knowing you can find the things you need when you need them will eliminate unnessecary failure. When things are chaotic at the office or home, it’s hard to think clearly and be of much value in either place.
It takes a small army to accomplish many worthwhile things in life. Pause and reflect on how you moved from failure to being able to achieve those goals, and thank those along the way who assisted in your journey to success.
Recognizing my role model in public meant a lot to me. It gave her a way to realize the positive influence she has had on my life. We also need to take credit and praise for the things we succeed at, and thank those who made it possible.
Set clear priorities
Life and business are about choices. With an abundance of information available today, having unclear priorities can drive you crazy. Set deadlines, make the best decision, and move on.
Whether you have a day, week or month to complete a project, a time constraint can help you prioritize what factors can influence a decision. Stop stressing about all the things on your to-do list. Focus on the ones that really matter. Once you set your goals, you’ll find that less really is more—more fulfilling and more rewarding.
Like Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s record, sometimes it seems as if the folks who cut corners get ahead. But people of character and integrity won’t have an asterisk next to their names in the history books.
No footnotes are necessary to explain Aaron’s incredible achievements and record. People like Roger Clemens and Bonds would have been great ballplayers without skirting the system.
Give yourself a gift this year and focus on the essential people in your life who share your values and vision for the future. I believe a lot will be accomplished in the new year by the people achieving their dreams. Let the others fight over who gets to take credit for all the significant acts of kindness being created every day. You have the power within you to make good things happen.
That is why I don’t believe in failure. Everything that happens, even the setbacks, set us up for the best things in our lives.