Somewhere along the way the word failure acquired a negative meaning for me.
How can something that occurs so often on our journey to success be a negative?
It happens more than success, doesn’t it?
What is it about failure that causes us to see it as a negative, instead of a natural part of the creative process?
I decided to look up the definition of failure: inability to perform a NORMAL function. The word NORMAL jumped off the page as I reread the definition.
I don’t know about you, but when I am creating something new I am doing things I don’t NORMALLY do because I am creating something new, something I have never done before. There is little ‘NORMAL’ that is until I’ve mastered something. Done it over and over and over again.
If I don’t perform a function that is NOT ‘NORMAL’ for me, is it really failure?
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” Richard Branson
Imagine as a leader we understand the difference between new performance and normal performance.
Would the label failure so quickly enter our story?
Would our story become a story of all the great things we learned, rather than how many times we experienced failure on our journey to success?
What if your organization valued learning more than it frowned on failure?
Would failure be celebrated quarterly like success? More than successes?
What creativity and innovation would be ignited in your organization?
In your own leadership style?
In your own life?
What would you attempt if there was not embarrassment in your failure?
In Webster’s 1828 dictionary the definition of failure is: Omission; non-performance; as the failure of a promise; a man’s failure in the execution of a trust.
Is it possible that failure only occurs when we give up – no longer persist in the attainment of our promise?
What are you promising?
How are you changing to fulfill the promise?
‘Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be’. John Wooden
I’ve learned the meaning we attach to the obstacles we face can either propel us to success or weigh us down to the point getting up becomes harder and harder.
When I chose to enter the world of entrepreneurs I realized there was more NEW than NORMAL for me. I am a seasoned, experienced business executive who has lead large organizations to high levels of achievement. I created new organizations within existing ones, helped companies large and small to achieve incredible results and yet I found myself facing weekly failures as an entrepreneur.
I began playing ping pong of the mind. Success, Failure, Success, Failure, Success, Success, Failure, Failure, Success, Success, and it was wearing out my creative thinking.
What is up with that?
Intellectually I knew that I was on a journey that required a steep learning curve. As a life long learner I continued to operate with persistence and failure was not an option. Yet as much as I love to learn, even small failures started to weigh heavy on my mind and stifle my creativity.
That is until I got a grip on the true meaning of failure:
Failure really only happens when I stop learning and growing, when I stop doing all I can do to build a trusting relationship with my clients, and when I decide I am done getting up.
FAILURE is ALLOWING SUCCESS to be OPTIONAL
WHEN I FULLY EMBRACED the thought that failure does not happen for ME when I am outside my NORM, my thoughts transformed to thoughts of learning and getting back up to learn again and creative my new vision.
This shift in my thinking about failure, helped me understand that the creative process demands setbacks, obstacles, challenges, surprises in order to birth something new.
I was hard wired for creating in a different world, a different system, a different culture, with an army of people. I was hard wired for developing leaders of leaders and creating as ONE with many. I was hard wired to move an army of people, inspiring them to explore, learn and create. My “NORMAL” thought was in big visions, with many resources, and with a complementary team. My new world had an even bigger vision, with me as the only current resource, a team of one, and with me making decisions like I NORMALLY do. I pulled triggers on things that took an army of more than one. OOPS!. I created plans that took a team of leaders to execute with their teams and I was THE team of leaders and THE team to do the executing of the plan, OOPS!
It has been a amazing season of learning and growth for me and my business. Learning my way to success in a new world. Failure is not an option because I have the will to figure out a way. I have a team of people to learn from and with, they aren’t employed with me or by me, even better they only care about finding a way to success.
What I learned:
- I learned to create a new world that aligns with my new VISION. It is structured differently, which requires different thinking and a new business model for success, a world that unleashes my creativity and the creativity of others on the journey with me.
- I learned I don’t have to scale back on my vision or my goals I only needed to adjust the dates for their completion. That was huge for me as I am driven by a BIG vision and smaller was not inspiring for me.
- I am learning to develop a new kind of patience. Patience with myself, and the formation of the best team.
- I learned the best people for your team are available when your company truly ready to expand its team. I focus on building the connections continually and collaborating before partnering to ensure core values and visions align.
- I learned to super simplifying what I offer and how people have access to my products and services to create momentum on a strong foundation.
- I plan with today’s ‘NORMAL’ thinking and I excel my future when NORMAL doesn’t work. I embrace obstacles and enjoy the rush of creativity kicks in.
- I am seeing the fruits of blending my worlds of an executive of hundreds, leadership consultant for hundreds of organizations, and solo entrepreneur extracting greatness in people and organizations to solve real world challenges.
- FAILURE is ALLOWING SUCCESS to be OPTIONAL