Is there a recipe for success? Are there steps to take, that if followed, would ensure our success? Yes. The answer is simple, learn to fail, and learn to fail epically well.
Throughout life, the journey is filled with peaks and valleys, times of challenge and times of triumph. Along life’s path, on our quest for success, our choices, not our circumstances, set forth into motion our trajectory toward our desires.
We aren’t victims of life’s circumstances, unless we choose to be.
So, what exactly is success? Is it measured by prestige? A car? The corner office? A feeling? The dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” I like this definition because it gets to the root of success- its basis- thinking.
Success is merely an accepted belief, a thought that we prescribe meaning, but how do we find it? How do we achieve it?
I grew up under the mantras of, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again,” and “Just do it.” Have I ever given up? Heck yes. I, like many, have gotten tired along the way. We don’t see the results that we expected, so we stop. Sometimes we decide that what were doing wasn’t working so we try something new, abandoning the former path.
Along life’s journey, through heartache, joy, and enlightenment, I have come to understand that when we give up, we miss out on the opportunities and blessings of failing. We fail to recognize the gift of the fail.
Thomas Edison so eloquently articulated the gift of failing when he said, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work….Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
With this said, let’s look at the definition of failure:
Let’s look at it this way, if I define darkness as lack or void of light, it does not mean that light does not exist. Darkness only exits within its defined parameters. One teensy tiny glimmer of light nullifies darkness. The same holds true for failure. Failure is a belief. We must accept a thought that our expectation was not met. One teensy tiny glimmer of hope nullifies failure. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope is the catalyst for success and is yet another accepted belief.
When properly combined, the two definitions of failure provide us with a recipe for success.
We run from failure, fear failure. Instead we should be embracing epically mastering failure. How well we fail, and our thoughts that prescribe our individual meaning of failure, determine our outcomes.
Our expectation is a thought which when prescribed a meaning, determines how we feel about the thought. If I expected certain results and failed to achieve those expected results, then I simply had an omission of a required action.
Wayne Gretzky stated that, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
What if the results that you expected or desired took too long? Who is setting the bar? Who is assigning the meaning? And if the results take longer than expected to be achieved, is it truly failure if you simply haven’t succeeded yet? Aren’t failures, an omission of expected or required actions, a part of the learning process?
Learning to fail means that we are on the path of success, that success exists. Therefore, if success exists, failure cannot at the same time, unless you call it failure. Just because your results are taking longer than you expected, this doesn’t mean failure, it means omission. There is something missing from the actions that you have taken.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again, truly spells out the recipe. It doesn’t mean abandon the dream and what you desire, it means learn from what didn’t work. We need to strive to fail because it means we are trying, we are learning, and we are staying in the path of success.
Failing is just practicing succeeding. To get really good at something, you need to practice! Practice creates confidence. Confidence empowers you.
Many have bought into the myth that failure is a bad thing. I’m here to tell you it means that you are on the road to success.
If you were to have never tried to take another step after falling as a toddler, you’d have never walked, and never ran. Success is defined by you. Only you know what success means because you create that meaning. Nobody can define success for you. If you redefine failure as a step to mastering success and a gift, then you have given yourself hope. Hope paves the way to success.
Only in darkness can you see the stars. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.