This post is dedicated to the memory of a great inspiration – Dr. Maya Angelou.
People ask me about failure all the time: “Terry have you ever failed at anything?” Of course I have, you can’t make it to success without it. If anything, failure is necessary to succeed and I have a bucket load I can share but instead, let me share with you how I make failure work for me and how you can to.
The reason there’s this illusion some people have of me that I never fail, it’s because I don’t let failure make me feel like a failure. As much as I am in control of my own success I’m very much in control of my failures when they occur too.
I have my dad to thank for this mind-set, he always lectured me on mistakes, he would tell me not to fear making them, embrace them, always learn from them and never repeat them. I feel 9 times out of 10, the result of failure is directly linked to one’s own mistakes.
With dads teaching firmly in my back pocket with everything I do, my relationship with failure has never been negative, failure is the best learning tool life will ever throw at you; you won’t truly know why you shouldn’t touch fire until you get burned.
Here’s 4 things I have associated with failure and why I have such a good relationship with it.
1. The process of Trial and Error – If ever there was a ‘how to’ guide on life – trial and error should be the title. From the dawn of time, this is how we learn. Sometimes you just have to get burned to understand for yourself what not to repeat.
2. Risk Management – We have so many tools at our disposal to research and asses risk and sometimes its common sense other times it’s gut instinct – but before taking any action you can also asses risk from previous failures and ensure contingency plans are put into place to limit such risk.
3. Knowing what to acquire – The valuable lessons I’ve learned from my failures are the ones that have taught me what I need to acquire to ensure success the next time. Be it knowledge, research, assets etc. Failures can highlight the fundamental components you might be missing to ensure success.
4. Identify Growth – Out of all the things I have accomplished to the person I have become today. I have learned more about myself through my failures than I have through anything else. Coping mechanisms, the ability to continue forward with my journey and source motivation, how to handle and silence critics and the disbeliever, but most importantly – having gained self belief. My very identity and character from ‘then to now’ can be measured by the impact of my failures.
I wouldn’t feel successful without my failures, even though I’m still working to get to where I want to be, I am successful, because with every failure I move from strength to strength… no text, holy book, nor teacher or motivational speaker…nothing will ever be able to teach me the things I have learned from my own failures.
There is a positive side to failure you just have to be willing to embrace it.