What if you Didn’t Fear Failure?
How do you define failure? Failure is defined as a lack of success, or a lack of expected outcomes.
Although this is a legitimate dictionary definition, buying into it is costing us time and money in a major way. For example, would you consider Serena Williams’ recent retirement announcement a failure…not exactly with 23 grand slams behind her belt. Let’s celebrate her iconic career versus most recent loss.
I experienced this first hand when on the road doing research to write a book on Greatness. Ironically the new book, is now appropriately titled ‘The Flip Side of Failing’, a topic that I never thought I would write about. I’m a recognition expert – Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness is my holy grail. So, you may ask yourself “what is a recognition expert doing talking about failure?”
Well I’ll tell you. What I learned from interviewing incredible, successful Canadians is that, they lean into failure. Accepting failure strengthens them so that they are better equipped to achieve success. Their direct experience and understanding of failure is more realistic than the average person. Simply put, they had to fail to achieve what they wanted. When Kevin Rempel was overcoming a major catastrophic injury from his Motocross accident, he was left paralyzed. He had two choices, “do I stay down, or tackle hours of physiotherapy to recover and overcome so that I can redefine my success and myself”. Kevin did not want to succumb to depression like his dad who was injured and confined to a wheelchair.
Success for Peter Mansbridge was to become one of the most respected news anchors across Canada; his long decorated career interviewing over 13,000 people including world leaders, covering decades of royal weddings and funerals, and every natural disaster over a 20 year successful span was impressive despite the fact he didn’t have a university education.
For Heather Moyse, having come in fourth only 1/100th of a second behind the bronze medal team in her first Olympics, fueled her determination to come back with a vengeance, which was rewarded with the first gold medal in female Canadian Bobsledding with her partner, not once but twice.
You see, great Canadians like you and I, we don’t believe in the traditional definition of failure. We throw it out the window. We reject it because, in fact, it is not necessarily your lack of success. It can actually propel yourself toward success, because you’re going to set the bar higher. By setting that bar, you’re going to have to fail once in a while, because you’re comfortable with not playing it safe.
Frankly, what is so unexpected about failure anyways? It happens to every one of us. And it happens every single day in little tiny ways and huge ways sometimes.
So, let me invite you to consider, what is your definition of success? What if in fact success could be defined by what you do with your failures? (This is advice I’d give my younger self among other things). If you’re not living your life, if you are not building your business, if you are not stretching your career to the point where you will encounter failures, then maybe you’re robbing yourself of success. Want a gauge of this? There are lots of resources for you to lean into failure as opposed to let it roadblock your success.