I had gone to a panel discussion on failure last month at part of the Twin Cities Start Up Week. The panelists shared their thoughts on how to navigate failure and the mindset to have around it. What usually showed up as failure ended up being an opportunity to something better down the road. As the moderator finished up, she asked each panelist to share their thoughts on failure. And one man said, “Failure is not an option.”
My inside’s cringed. We just spent an hour listening to why failure was part of the process and this guy says it’s not an option. Friends, you’ll never succeed if that’s what you believe. (And to be fair, I think he said it because it was the first thing that came to his head.)
In today’s society of sharing the highlights of our lives and businesses it can seem like everyone else is doing it right. They are only winning and our losses and setbacks that come our way only happen to us. So the natural progression of growth that includes failing and falling now feels like a gut punch.
Not one person has succeeded without failing. Sometimes people get lucky or they have fast starts, but everyone deals with failure. Frustration. And what I share with my clients is that to have sustainable success, we need a plan for the expected setbacks.
What is your plan for failure? We often put together a plan for success – plans to implement our goals. But do you ever think about how you’re going to get over the dip that will eventually occur? Right now I’m in a dip as I write my first book. I wrote the intro and first three chapters in under two weeks. They flowed and the outline was really coming along. And then Chapter 4 came. I can’t figure out how I want to explain the subject. I know that writer’s block is part of the process. And I don’t try to push through it. I’m taking a break. (By writing a blog – I know it seems weird, but this blog has been on my mind for a while and I need to get it out!)
Some people would stop writing all together. They would take writer’s block as a sign they aren’t meant to be an author. And quit. I guess it’s good for me that I’ve been so bad at so many things in the past that I’ve become used to failure when I start. I don’t expect to be bad or things to be hard, but if we can accept the fact that we will probably find times when we will be challenged and want to give up, we can prepare. I have been average to below average at most things I’ve ever done. I was at the bottom of my sales organization my very first year. If success had to happen in the first six months I would be the least accomplished person in the world.
Instead, I keep the long-game in mind. Just like the stock market goes up and down, our emotions will too. And I hope that’s what you look to. It might take you a few tries to get to the next level, but it will happen as long as you keep going after a failure. If we viewed failure as lessons we don’t repeat, they become one of our biggest assets. Whoever fails the fastest wins, right?
As you plan your 2020 goals, are you also planning how to deal with your failures? I’m leading a free webinar on November 12th at 7:00 pm CST called Beyond the Board. I’m going to walk you through a baseline strategy on how to make sure you feel fulfilled as you work towards your 2020 goals. You can reserve your free spot here before it fills up!