Have you ever failed at something you really wanted to achieve?
More importantly, have you ever stopped up to think, REALLY think, about how that incident changed you, from the person you were, to the person you became?
The honest truth…
I have failed at countless things in my life.
After university I was as keen as all my friends to get onto a graduate scheme of a big corporation – it sounded fun and my parents agreed this would be the best way to build a solid, stable career.
However, despite my best efforts, oh shock, I never got accepted to any, so instead, I decided to go to India for a year of adventure.
Thinking back, my life has planned out very differently because of this. At the time, not getting accepted was a big knock to my self-esteem, but not only am I pretty sure a ‘stable career’ in a big corporation would have not suited me, but I wouldn’t have gotten as thick-skinned and resilient as I am today.
Moreover, I wouldn’t have learnt what it feels like to be proud and excited about my own work – it was after my year of travelling and exploring India that I ended up launching my first company.
Fast forward 10 years, I’m now running my 3rd company, and I’m not saying it’s been easy (that would be a complete lie).
But guess what…
People don’t get judged on their bad ideas or failures, they get judged on their successes.
Successful people DO more things, some will probably be failures, but some will huge successes! If you want to be original and have achievements you can be proud of, you simply have to act on more ideas. Some are bound to be successful, and while doing them you’ll feel like you’re playing, not working.
Failing at something is an amazing learning experience, and I wish there was more focus on letting kids fail when they’re young.
We teach children how to brush their teeth every evening, and to eat their healthy vegetables, but why is all the focus on keeping the body healthy, and not the mind? Why are we not urged to take risks on projects and plans that we think are REALLY cool, exciting and probably a bit crazy?
There’s a good chance we would fail at many of them, and that’s exactly my point – all these early failures would make us more resilient, more desentizised and more wise, and we’d be more likely to succeed at projects later in life.
Why does this matter?
Many of my clients come to me because they feel they’re performing way below their actual potential. Somewhere along the line, one single experience with failure convinced them they couldn’t succeed. Once we convince ourselves of something, it can be very hard to change our minds.
A failure is actually a perfect opportunity to think about what you just learned about yourself, what you learned about the world, and what you would do differently next time. The more failures we experience, the better.
Can you believe that Dyson, the inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, went through 5,127 failed attempts to finally produce a working model?
Sometimes we need some help and support, to realise that taking a risk in order to succeed at something you really want to achieve, is absolutely worth it.
It’s those moments that you’ll remember when you think back on your life.
Know that even when you fail, you now know how to do it differently and better next time. It doesn’t feel like it at the time, but trust me on this one 🙂
To your success and happiness,
PS: I’d love to know what you have learned from your failures in the past?
Christine is a Career & Business Coach and works with driven professionals who are stuck on a career path without excitement and purpose. She takes a big picture approach and helps people discover a career they’ll love.
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.