“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
– Bill Cosby
If you’re like me, you document every success you’ve accomplished ever since you can remember. Yes, they do look good on our resumes but they don’t tell the whole story. It is equally important to be ready to share your failures as you are with your successes.
Every now and then, I get asked to assist with career development and growth. While the most common question I ask is about a short-term and a long term goal, it’s almost always an impulse for me to ask one of the most dreaded question: “Are you ready to fail?” Now, I do have an idea about what the potential response may be probably because of the number of people I ask but I still anticipate the kind of response I would be getting. I’m guessing you’re answer would be a surprising “NO.” Why? Because we were taught in school that failing is for losers and it’s not cool to be a one. Because we were raised with certain expectations that everything is about success and winning. Because we keep telling ourselves that failure is not an option. Because we are exposed in different types of media where the successful get their hands raised while the failures get “boo-ed.” Now, you know why have an idea of the type of response I’d get when I ask the question.
Why, would you ask, do I even ask the question? It’s because I, myself, am comfortable of answering it. I don’t claim to have a positive approach to failure. In fact, I’m still afraid to fail. I just know that I am ready to fail. Because I had – a lot of times. In a previous blog post, I talked about taking risks and with risks come the opportunity to fail. Yes, I learned the same lessons about success and failure as everyone else and I have had the same expectations from my parents but those didn’t prevent me from taking more risks. I know how it felt like to fail more than 17 (not 1, not 7 but 17) courses in my undergraduate degree program (I still managed to graduate with an engineering degree), how it felt like to close down a business I started, how it felt like failing a critical project I was working on, screw up big time on a conference presentation, etc. I think I can probably list more failures than successes in my lifetime but one thing is for sure. I am not about to let those failures keep me from taking more risks. I’ve learned thru experiences that in life, there are no failures, only lessons. Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishing, talks about turning failures to your advantage in this blog post. Check out this Michael Jordan video about failure.
What about you? Are you ready to embrace your failures and turn them into successes?