I posted an update on a forum the other day, about some technical (human error) problems I was having in getting a video update prepared. In the post I, in jest, suggested I would be marked an F for not getting the video done. I received some wonderful posts back giving me support and suggesting that I should eliminate the F (fail/failure) word from my vocabulary. This intrigued me, as I do not consider the use of fail or failure to have any particular negative connotation ASLONG as I am learning lessons and improving my capabilities and am, thus, ‘Failing Forward’. Now, if I did not learn anything, repeated the same actions to achieve the same outcome or gave up because of the ‘failure’ this might have a different impact on me. But, I choose to see such events as meaning that I have not succeeded yet and I am taking another step nearer to the goal that I am pursuing.

It is common for people to see failure as bad, as an unacceptable act. We quickly learn to hide our failures or look for excuses as to why we did not achieve what was expected. Worse still, we become cautious or afraid and avoid any challenge or situation where we may have to take risks so as to avoid the possibility of ‘failing’. In doing so we limit our choices, which in turn limits where we choose to play and ultimately our opportunities to experience and to learn from those experiences. Children learn to walk or ride bicycles by experimentation, they fall over, fall off and get cuts and grazes but they get back up and try again and all of the time they are learning.

If we are to significantly improve our performance or achieve stretch goals, we have to go beyond our comfort zone and try new things. In doing so, we may expect to come across circumstances where things will not go our way or something we try will not work and thus we will ‘not achieve’ what we set out to do. However, in doing so we can look at where things did not go as we expected, learn the lessons, adopt our approach and move on. It is documented that Thomas Edison tested some 3000 types of filament before he came up with his version of a practical light bulb, where might we be today if he had given up when the first iteration had not worked? In the dark?

I would encourage you to see ‘not achieving the desired result’ as an opportunity to learn, grow and develop; grasp these and the opportunities they provide. I leave you with this quote:

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan