The only time that your failures are really failures is when you let them beat you down.
I want you to think about the most inspiring person for you—the person who comes to mind when I say,
“Who’s your hero?”
I bet if you went back in their story, they would have times when they were at their lowest point. They would have times when they tried to risk something but failed. But in that failure, when they tried and they risked and they lost, something wonderful happened. Their lowest point, their failure, actually led them to be the person that you look up to. They learned something, and they made connections.
When you’re at the lowest point, you have two options:
you let that challenge stop you, crush you, and keep you from becoming the person you need to be,
or you can say, “I’m going to learn from this. I’m going to grow through this. I’m going to do whatever it takes!”
I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs, and a question I like to ask them at a certain point when they’re comfortable with me is, “What are you afraid of?” It’s really interesting because, for the most part, people are afraid that they can’t do it, that they don’t have it. They’re afraid that it’s not going to work. They’re afraid to fail because of what other people might say about them. Here’s the thing about failure: It can be something that crushes you and stops you, or it can be something that wakes you up and makes you realize that you’ve spent all your efforts going one way when you should be going a different way.
Failure can be an embarrassing thing that makes you feel that you are not good enough. It could be something that you tried but didn’t work. However, through failure, you learn something about yourself. You can make connections or build new relationships.
For example, in my business, my greatest lessons have been learned from failure. When I realize that I let my team down, I make changes in the people, the processes, the hiring practices, and the investments that I need to make. When I realize that something I have done has let the client down or my marketing is failing the growth of the company, I immediately focus on fixing the problem. However, it’s only through failure and pain that I realize that things aren’t as hunky-dory as I thought they were.
I have two choices.
First, I can walk away and say, “I tried and I failed.” But what does that say about me? It means I’m a loser.
Second, I can look at failure as an opportunity to learn. That is, I face it and say, “I’m the type of person who keeps going. I’m the type of person who learns. I’m the type of person who takes responsibility for the things that didn’t work. I make sure that I don’t do them again.”
I see this positive attitude in people that I admire. They are open to risk. When they try and fail, it seems to me like they just brush it off. I don’t see them late at night crying. I don’t see them having to console worried investors. I don’t see any of that stuff. They’re just back the next day or a few days later, and they’re on to what’s next, facing the next challenge. And I look up to these people.
I want you to ask yourself about the failures that you’ve had, big or small. I want you to think about risks you’re willing to take. Be willing to put yourself on the line. I want you to think about what it says about you. Take the risk. Put yourself out there. Have the failure happen right to your face. Feel it and eat it. Then use that as rocket fuel to drive you to what you’re really capable of, and not let that failure get you down.
What does that say about you? That’s the person that I want you to be. That’s the person that I want to live up to be every single day. And that only comes from putting yourself in a position to fail.
Embrace the failure, learn from it, and then get better.