Everyone loves an underdog! The losing baseball team that miraculously turns the tables and takes the lead in the final inning. The tournament poker player down on his luck that produces the winning hand. The unknown actress who is suddenly an overnight success. The persevering winner whose DNA comprises of tears, heart, and unbridled tenacity.
Ahhhh . . . overnight success. That is the dream. Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but a dream is all that it is. Maybe in a world of unicorns and leprechauns, but down here on earth, the reality is there’s no such thing as overnight success or fame unless “overnight” means years of falling and rising to get the perceived overnight win! No great success was ever achieved without failing first. Failure is, in fact, a mandatory prerequisite to success, and it must be paid upfront.
Failure for the Win
Albert Einstein said, “Failure is success in progress.” Yet, the irony is the world tends to tell us to avoid failure at all costs. To make it look flawless and never make mistakes. “Looking good” has become such an obsession that there are about 99 million filters to make sure perfect is all you are. The sad part is the fear of looking bad in front of others directly correlates to why so many never accomplish their bigger goals and dreams. Preoccupied with image, they focus more on avoiding failure than taking action. You either need to minimize your goals or magnify your effort. You can’t have big goals with small effort or big wins without many fails. Perhaps Edison said it best, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’
One of my all-time favorite authors, John Maxwell, encourages us to look at failure from a new perspective in his book, Failing Forward. He poses two questions that changed my life:
“If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve?”
Your answer is probably Anything and Everything!
But the question is flawed as it implies that someone can achieve and never fail. Yet, there is no achievement without failure. So Maxwell poses a better question:
“If your perception of and response to failure were changed, what would you attempt to achieve?”
I Dare You To Fail
Yep, that’s right! I double-dog dare you to fail twice as much this week as you did the week before. When I first entered the business world at the ripe old age of 21, I was paralyzed in fear of failing or being judged or losing. The more fear gripped me, the less successful I was, which validated the fear and allowed more to creep in. Quite frankly, it’s a crazy, devastating cycle! Fortunately, it’s not where my story ends. Enter some phenomenal mentors who taught me to embrace failure and even gave me permission to fail as long as I got back up again. Yes, that’s right: some of us need permission to fail. They pulled me in close and shared with me a secret – as long as you get back up and learn from it, failure will not be the end of your story! They helped me see missteps as, dare-I-say, positive, and actually encouraged me to fail! This seemed flat-out backward to me! But I wanted their success; they had already done it, so I followed their coaching.
Multiply Your Failure Rate
I learned to make failure a game, a prize to be won at the end of the day. I wouldn’t let my head hit the pillow until I achieved at least ten “no’s” for the day. This way, instead of being defeated after a day that, from the outside, may look like a disappointment, I’d feel I accomplished something because I reached my goal of ten plus “no’s” a day. Again, it seems backward, yet I knew if I doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled my chances of failing, I also quadrupled my chances of WINNING. I wanted to win with every bone in my body; thus, I was willing to lose and lose hard, exponentially even. At first, this was really difficult because the “no’s” devastated me, but before I knew it, I welcomed the “nos,” and they didn’t have any weight to them anymore. And lo and behold, (drum roll please) all those nos turned into YESES! In fact, the more “no’s” I encountered, the more “yeses” I got. At one point, the tables turned, and as I learned from each “No,” they became fewer and further between, and the yeses became abundant!
Allow me to highlight a slight modification for those of you thinking this is giving you permission to stay in failure. It’s not. There’s a gargantuan difference between failing forward and staying stuck or quitting, never learning from your failures.
The pendulum has to swing swiftly in both directions – if you are willing to dive into the failures, the successes will be just as deep! The more you’re putting yourself out there, the more opportunities you give yourself on the road to victory. I challenge you to picture the most successful person you know. I guarantee that if the person you are thinking of has achieved more than you, they have also failed more than you; the pendulum swings both ways.
Failure Isn’t Fatal
So how do you get to the point you are kicking butt and taking names? Dare yourself to fail. Remember, failure isn’t fatal; it’s merely the first few scenes in the saga. You want to get to the juicy parts; you gotta take a few in the gutter.
If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.– Samuel Beckett
People won’t remember how you started – they will remember how it ends. Did you know Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was kicked off his high school football team!? And Airbnb was repeatedly told that nobody would ever pay to stay in a stranger’s house, yet Airbnb is now valued at $25.5 billion. Colonel Sanders, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s recipe, was rejected 1009 times before the first yes! When you fail to the top, you are in good company. Be kind to yourself in the process, never give up, and as always, grateful is a great place to start.
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ARTICLE SPONSORED BY CROWDPOINT TECHNOLOGIES