“We ebb and flow on the success-failure spectrum constantly. We win some, we lose some.”
Failure. It’s a fact of life. As soon as we start to crawl, we fail. If you have kiddos, you know what I mean. Your little guy first learns to roll over from his back to stomach and vice versa. Then he learns to lift himself up onto his knees and lift his belly off the ground. Then comes a little forward and backward sway until his muscles are finally strong enough to move forward. Then comes lifting himself up onto your coffee table, “Oh he’s so cute he finally stood up, oh my gosh! He’s going to walk soon…” Then, SMACK! His first bump on the head which will definitely not be his last. Then comes walking and running and we know how much failure there is in trying to accomplish these tasks. Just watch all of the helicopter moms hovering over their kids next time you’re at the mall. The bottom line is this: Failure is an important part of life. We are hardwired as humans to learn from our mistakes, failure is one of the ultimate ways we grow. Never be ashamed of your weaknesses or failures, we all have them.
Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve 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.” He also got cut from his high school basketball team. We all know how that turned out. He became a legend.
So, the real question is how do we embrace failure? I don’t know of any other way to really learn something than trying and failing. You can’t just read a book on being the best golfer and expect to play like Tiger Woods. You must spend countless hours practicing, failing, over and over and over again. The same goes for being successful in business. Business owners know what it’s like to fail. I would argue that the best business owners are the ones who learned from their mistakes and got back on their feet (fast) once they failed. It’s not enough to just fail for failures sake. Plenty of people fall into this trap. They fail, they blame others, they do everything but learn from their mistakes.
The most successful people in this world are people who decided that failure wasn’t an ending, it was only the beginning, and failure is something that happens all the time. Most of us think of failure as some destination we are doomed to stay at. Maybe it’s because too many of us have heard “You are never going to amount to much, you’re a failure…” No person is a failure! Not one! People fail at certain activities, sure, but no one is doomed to stay in a state of failure forever. This way of thinking is toxic. You are not your mistakes, you are not the problems you have, you are a living being just experiencing these outcomes. The best part is we can always change the outcome. We always have the opportunity for growth and change.
Next time you “fail” at something, immediately change the way you think about the problem. Take a long hard look at what happened. What brought you to this point? Why didn’t this idea work? It’s not because you’re a failure. It’s because of a million different things, plenty of which are beyond your control. If you’ve tried a thousand different times to do something and you keep failing, you’re a thousand times closer to getting the outcome you want. You know a thousand things that don’t work. That’s a huge step in solving your problem! Don’t get discouraged. We are all in various stages of failure really… We ebb and flow on the success-failure spectrum constantly. We win some, we lose some. The way to have more wins is to embrace the failure, focus on the lesson learned, and move forward with 100% confidence that you WILL find a solution. Don’t doubt. Don’t fear. Put your head down and get to work.
About the Author:
Matt DiNinno is the Managing Director of DiNinno Consulting, LLC based in Redlands, California. He and his team help Small and Medium Sized Enterprises thrive. Matt spent 13 years as a licensed Financial Advisor with firms like Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch (see his FINRA Brokercheck Record here).