Whether we are in the workplace or enjoying our personal lives, we all will have to deal with failure at some point in our lives.  There are some people who run from failure, but there are others who thrive from failure.  The question is how do you handle failure?

In an ideal world, we would love a life filled with accomplishments and achievements minus the disappointment of failing.  Although we know failure is just part of life, no one actually enjoys failure.  However, failure is a critical piece to your success.  Why?  Because it speeds up the learning process.

When I look back on all my learning experiences, the greatest moments of me developing myself was through failure.  Whether I was learning to ride a bike, learning how to drive a car, being a husband, being a father, treating patients, speaking, coaching, or training, the best learning experiences have been when I failed.  

The key is to stop trying to be perfect.  When you span across history and look at all the great innovators, no one had a perfect track record.  The only people that have a perfect track record are those who have succeeded for the first time and never attempted to try again because of fear.  And usually these people are filled with regrets at the end of their lives because of missed opportunities to grow, achieve, and be a better version of the themselves.  Don’t be that person.

It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and start rolling out the red carpet for failure by welcoming failure into your life.  Here are two ways you can welcome failure into your life.

1. Embrace Failure

Many people spend a lot of time fearing and resisting failure, but this attitude imprisons creativity and innovation.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear several TED talks on failure.  In each TED talk, the person discussed how they welcome failure with their businesses.  Matter of fact, they went far of enough to say that in their businesses they encourage failure by giving promotions and bonuses to those who try something new and fail.  These organizations feel they can only lead the world of business and technology by taking risk.

Colin Powell is a retired four-star general in the United States Army.  He had many accomplishments, but feels failure was a huge key to his success.  In his autobiography, My American Journey, he describes how he felt his leadership was very ineffective during the Vietnam War.  But he continued to embrace this thought and it caused him to learn from some great people.  Powell said, “There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hardworking, and learning from failure.”  In other words, he embraced failure.

Will you embrace failure?  Or will you continue to let the fear of failure paralyze your thoughts, goals, and dreams?

2.    Fail Forward

One of the reasons why we are not fond of failure is because failure hurts.  Let’s be honest, failure sucks.  (Please excuse my language.)  Failing is never a good feeling, but it teaches something beyond what we can learn when we succeed.

During this process, we must stay engaged with our purpose and passion.  It’s our ability to stay connected to our passion that makes failure a critical piece to our success.  Otherwise, we don’t gain the experience and wisdom we need to keep growing or what I would like to call “failing forward.”

British statesman and former Prime Minister for the United Kingdom Sir Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  Churchill experienced many failures from the challenges with his speech impediment as a child to his leadership during World War II.  You probably won’t read about many of his failures because he led Britain to victory during World War II.

I discovered the same happenings with all successful people.  You hear more about their success, but usually failure of some kind was the start of their success.

Are you avoiding failure?  Success comes to those who do not fear failure.  What’s stopping you from failing?  Or should I say, what is stopping you from succeeding?  Please leave a comment below about your thoughts on failure.


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