Flip the Switch on Failure
I believe failure is underrated. I want to give it a positive shout-out and remind everyone that it is something we all have in common and have experienced. Whether it is a big or small failure, it is something that can define us and determine how we live our lives. Amazon lists over 20,000 books with “failure” in the title, so there is plenty of content and opinions on the subject.
Our response to failure can make or break us and I confidently admit that it is an amazing character-builder. Most think of failure as a negative, shameful and embarrassing thing, however, I urge everyone to think about it in a different, positive light.
Failing at something is one of the best opportunities to grow and learn. I now embrace failure and confess that it was a long journey to arrive at this declaration! Do not get me wrong, it is a very hard pill to swallow when you know you have failed at something and you have to admit it, get through it, and move on. Just thinking about experiencing that failing feeling gives me stomach cramps. The fact that failure elicits in me an emotional response, as it does in all of us, is powerful and I do not want to forget that. That negative feeling has helped me move failure into a more positive light in my life; to learn and grow from it.
I no longer look at failure the same way I did a decade ago because I am resigned to the fact that it will occur in my life. I have failed enough times that the sting of embarrassment hurts less and less each time. My reaction to failure is one thing I can control in a situation and I choose to look at the positive lessons learned. Failure is, in all respects, a learning experience. It is an opportunity for discussion, new perspective, renewed optimism and reassessing goals. Failure is ultimately good for character, good for building relationships, and good for a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Do not overthink failure, instead, ask yourself these questions: How do you view failure? How are you recovering from failure? How can you view failure more positively? The answers to these questions will help move you forward in life in a way that is destined for success. Thomas Edison famously said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
This piece was originally published in the Lift Iowa Newsletter on Monday, February 25, 2019.