Theodore Roosevelt once commented,” Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much. Because they live in that gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Let’s face it, we all make mistakes and fail from time to time. The question is, “Is it possible to view failure from a glass half full (positive) perspective?” I would answer with a resounding “Yes” if you chose to look at a failure as a step toward success. Many times it is by our trials that we progress.
Behind most success stories there lie many incidents of failure. Most people don’t see all the failures. They only see one side of the process. Many believe success is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Those who consistently succeed know better. It’s through these failures and their willingness to move forward that their success is born. Winston Churchill used to say, ” The ability to be successful is the ability to go from failure to failure without giving up.”
Here are 4 opportunities that failure offers you.
1) Failure is often a new beginning. It gives you a reason to start again. First admit your mistakes, accept the consequences, then put it behind you and start again. Often times, very small adjustments and refinements can move you from failure to success. Ask yourself, ” What do I need to refocus on right now?” Use your intense pain as fuel for action. Here is an exercise I have found useful. Take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the center and on the left side write, everything I am committed to and on the right side write, everything I will no longer stand for. Spend a moment or two listing items under each heading. Committing this to writing helps you develop the power of clarity which you may refer back to as you start moving forward again.
2) Failure helps you see clearer who you are and who you want to be. Often what we fear most is what we most need to do. In this case, it’s to be brutally honest with ourselves. Thoughtfully ask yourself,” Is taking risks worth risking failure?” The risks of failure are nowhere near as significant as the opportunity for success. Those who make giant leaps in business are the ones willing to try something new. For example, Disneyland which opened in 1955, was probably the biggest risk anybody had ever taken in the entertainment business. When Walt told his wife what he was planning to do, even she said, ” Why would you do that? Those places are so dirty, and people in them are so nasty.” Walt’s reply, “Well mine’s not going to be that way.” And we all know how he made that promise come true. All because of the clear vision he had.
3) Failure is the pathway to success. When I think of failure as a path to success, it reminds me of something Art Linkletter once said. ” Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” Some have an uncanny ability to look at the bright side. For example, I ask, what do Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Abraham Lincoln have in common? They didn’t worry about failure. They worried about the chances they would miss if they didn’t try. They believed there is no such thing as failure, but only the opportunity to learn from experience. You can usher success into every action you take by ushering failure out. This means by focusing on ideas in which you have a high probability of success and a low probability of failure. It also means conservatively testing before you commit huge amounts of time, money or people to an idea.
4) Failure forces you to pay attention and make the changes you need to make. Thomas J. Watson said, ” Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it. So, go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” I believe after a failure you must ask yourself 3 questions:
* What have I learned from this experience?
* How can I use this setback creatively?
* How can I work something good out of it?
Failure actually offers you the opportunity to learn and improve your future performance. Failure is really victory disguised. As Zig Ziglar used to say, ” Other people and things can stop you temporarily. YOU are the only one who can do it permanently.” What’s stopping you today from moving forward to success?
Mike Sciortino has more than 30 years of experience in the investment management business. Mike speaks at Conferences and writes often about how advisors can differentiate themselves, grow their practice, and improve their lives through time-tested processes. See all of Mike’s stories for CMG Advisor Central. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.