I’ll start out with some questions that, out of context, would sound slightly negative:
Did you fail?
How did you fail?
What did your failures look like?
Were they your own or were they from an inanimate third party?
The challenge from last Monday was to recognize how you handle failure.
Many of you who read this have gotten to where you are in large part due to more successes than failures. High achievers seem to be driven to avoid failure. However, failure comes in many different forms: failed conversations, failed interactions with your family members, failed attempts to switch the HDMI cable from your TV, failure of the washing machine to work, failure of house-training your dog. Not just the mistakes you make but the failed situations you find yourself involved in.
We have each heard the phrase that is attributed to Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”
Can you imagine if we treated our failures with that level of understanding? Not giving up on ourselves, or others, on the first fail? It is important for each of you to understand that, despite the successes you have experienced up to this point, there will always be failures. You inherently know this at a deep level, yet fight it continually. because ‘if I am really good, I won’t fail….” Failure plus insecurity are a fire and gasoline combination. If our value is based on our success more so than our ability to bounce back from failure, we are bound to see explosive situations in our lives.
Thomas Edison also said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.
You have hopefully seen this week how you fail and how you deal with situations involving failure. But most importantly, how you treat yourself when you fail. We’ll talk about how to make some course correction in failure on Monday. But for now, try to plant the idea in your head that picking yourself up from failure creates much more depth in leaders and people than a flawless record of success.
And in case you didn’t get my gist, we are going for depth here.