Has anyone NOT experienced failure? It would be one uneventful life if you have not had the blessings of failure. Where would we get those great moments to laugh or cry over if there were no failures in our life? Where would our character development be found? Of course, it is NOT pleasant when we are going through those moments where our failures can range from minor to epic. It is unfortunately the way we learn and grown.
We learn not to make the same mistakes again. We learn to try a new approach to solving a problem. We learn that we are not define by the mistake or failure. We learn that we are stronger and tougher than we thought before the failure and after the recovery. We learn that one step away from fail is success. There are many benefits of experiencing failure as part of growing and maturing if you can get up and learn from the failure. There are however people who fail and fail to recover. What differentiates those to who experience failure and comes out stronger vs. those who come out worse off?
I think that are 5 characteristics of people who fail and come out worse off and they are:
- Not having a goal in life. Sounds counterintuitive in a way as if you have goals and not meet them, then wouldn’t that we consider a fail? Yes, if the goal in life was purely just achieving goals. No, as life is not about maturing in character as we move towards achieving our goals. Not having a goal is a sure way to fail as there is nothing that one is striving towards. How can one be successful if you don’t know where you are going? Set goals for yourself. To help you with goals, check out my previous blog here.
- You are not teachable. You are not willing to learn and you are not willing to receive feedback. You are inflexible and unwilling to accept help. Having a teachable attitude will help you to learn from mistakes and ensure that you do not make the same mistake. We are never too brilliant to not be able to learn more.
- A negative mindset. It is critical that we define failure in the right context. Failure is not definite and not permanent. Having a negative mindset will only hurt in the learning process as the perception is far worse than reality. A negative mindset creates a perception that the failure is worse than it is and without hope that it will get better. Hope is a critical ingredient is ensuring that we get back up again. Change the perception of what failure is and change your mindset to see the silver lining behind it.
- No commitment. No or lack of commitment to see your goals through will result in giving up too early. People who are successful are commitment to their vision and will persevere through enormous obstacles to see your goals come to fruition. Commitment is fundamental in ensuring that we stay the course and learn from failure, improvise and continue moving forward.
- Waiting for perfection. Waiting for the perfect time, the perfect idea, the perfect opportunity and so on. There is no perfection. It is pointless to wait for perfection as it does not exist. Waiting does not get you anywhere. Waiting for perfection certainly will not get you anywhere. The only way to know if your idea will work is to just do it. Plan for it and then act on it. Learn and improve and continue to just do it.
Don’t be afraid to fail as that is how we learn and mature. Don’t allow failure to stop you from failing. Take the risk of failing and have the right mindset and attitude of:
- Failure is a temporary setback in achieving your goals.
- Every mistake or failure is an opportunity to learn from and be better.
- Every negative situation and thought as a positive upside.
- You will develop muscles in perseverance, commitment, discipline and focus.
- Keep straining forward is the only way to move forward and not backwards or stagnant. Don’t let the setback make you negative or bitter. Use it to keep you stronger.
Don’t allow your failures to stop you and prevent you from living life to the fullest. Don’t let it stop you from taking risk in a business opportunity or as you move up the career ladder.
PS: Special for March, I am conducting a special free 30-min session to help you with any questions around coaching that you might have and how coaching could be the resource to help you have a purposeful year. Just click here to start the journey.
Fear as per the dictionary is “distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
All of us feel fear. There is no escaping fear. In fact, there are many benefits of fear such as:
- Helps you to survive
- Keeps you safe
- Keeps you within the law
- Drives you to improve and be better
Therefore having a healthy dose of fear is good for you.
However, on the flip side, fear is also the number one reason for a life not lived. Fear does not start and end with just one act, it creates a perpetual cycle – the Fear Cycle. The fear cycle looks something like this:
The fear cycle will generally consist of these 4 elements:
- Paralysis: You are so afraid that you will literary decide to do nothing. It is perceived to be safer if you did not try anything new or to take risk. Over time, you will not learn, not grow and not progress. You will continue to just live within the boundary that is perceived to be your comfort zone.
- Excuses: You will then look around and wonder “Why is my friend so successful?”. “Why am I not progressing?”. “Why has nothing changed?”. To these questions the answers will be “Oh it’s just their luck”. “Right place at the right time.”. “I was not given that opportunity.” “I just don’t know where to start.” You will create reasons or excuses but never face the realities of what your fears are preventing you from achieving.
- Negativity: Over time, the lack of progress will cause you to believe your excuses and further create a negative perspective of situations and of your life. Negativity will creep in and you will know its symptoms when you have emotions such as envy, bitterness, anger, self-doubt and so on.
- Purposeless: When nothing seems to be happening, and everything is just bleak, you will not be able to see or define a purpose. To drift through the everyday purposeless. You will see signs of that when you wonder what you have achieved, what is this life about and so on. You will just go through the day living out the routine and not being fulfilled.
The most common fear is the fear of failure. The only way to break free from the fear cycle is to address it head-on by changing the definition and perspective of failure. The fear of failure, is the result of what you perceive failure to be. For example, you perceive failure as:
- Personal: I am a failure and I will always be a failure.
- Talent or Intelligence related: Only the NOT Smart or NOT good fail
- Defect: There is something wrong with me or I am NOT good at anything
- Self-Worth: If I fail, I will always be a failure.
Therefore in order to break that cycle you will need to redefine failure and more importantly what it is NOT:
- You are NOT a failure. To fail in an activity does NOT mean that you are a failure. The task and the person are two distinctly separate entities.
- Failure is NOT avoidable. Once we realise that we cannot run away or avoid failure, you will come to accept that it is just part and parcel of life. It is part of learning and growing. It is life. Don’t try to avoid failure. Learn to learn from failure and be better.
- Failure is NOT permanent. You might fail in a certain task but as you learn and improve your skills, you will be able to accomplish whatever the task. To fail does not mean that you will continually fail. It is not permanent.
- Failure is NOT a step backward but a step forward. Just because an activity did not get the results that you had hope for does not mean that you will never be able to achieve the goal. It provides you with lessons on what not to do and what to do next. It is a step forward for you.
Establish a New and Healthy relationship with failure. We will all fail even in doing something that we are good at. To fail at something provides us with lessons on what to do and what not to do for the next time. It is a step closure to getting it right. In fact you will learn more when you fail than when you succeed.
- What you would like to achieve in 2017 and beyond?
- What goals are you working towards?
- What are the challenges and barriers that you will need to overcome?
- What do you need to do to overcome them?
- What help do I need?
- Where can I find the resources to help me?
- How do I build my action plan?
PS: Special for March, I am conducting a special free 30-min session to help you with any questions around coaching that you might have and how coaching could be the resource you might need to help you have a purposeful year. Just click here to start the journey.
This is about the time of the year when new year resolutions have come to a halt or a distant memory. You may have started January with great gusto but now in February, those resolutions are either forgotten or just too hard and therefore ends in the “tried but failed” graveyard.
Let me highlight and remind you why goals are important:
- Goals help you to focus your energy and time. We do not have an endless supply of time or energy. Goals will help you to focus or prioritise how and what you will use your energy and time for. Goals will help you to make the right decision and trade-offs when confronted with multiple requests or tasks.
- Goals help you to persevere with hope. Sounds strange but if we set realistic expectations and goals, it is able to motivate us. Motivation and hope serves as fuel for perseverance. It is the reaching of a realistic but challenging goal that will drive you forward. The hope that reaching that goal will give you a reward will help you to persevere. The reward is up to you to define.
- Goals are character building. More than the achievement of the goal is the process by which it was achieved. More often than not, the process of struggling, striving, persevering and challenging yourself in achieving the goal builds character. We learn more about ourselves through the process as well as building muscles in areas like focus, commitment, dedication, perseverance and discipline.
- Goals ensure that you line up your potential. Potential cannot be realised if we don’t work at it. Potential can only be released when it is applied. Potential must be worked on. Goals will help you work on your potential as it requires application of your potential. When you are working at it, your skills and abilities are being developed. Potential with work will bring you accomplishments.
- Goals will drive you forward. Goals will drive you forward whilst being goal-less will cause you to drift. Drifting through life is one of the most wasteful use of your potential. Driving forward will ensure that you are taking accountability for your life. Goals that drive you forward will always give you significance.
The challenge with goals is that is can be scary and terrifying. It is terrifying because of the fear of failure. No one wants to fail at achieving a goal. Therefore in order to avoid failure, it is easier to not have goals. However, to fail at a goal does not equate to you being a failure. In fact, it simply means that you did not achieve the goal for whatever the reason. In the working out of the goal, the real outcome is lesson. What did you learn? What could you do differently? What needs to change? How could I overcome this barrier?
Goals will give you a purpose. A “why” am I doing this. Every person who you would consider as successful, would certainly have goals in their life. So don’t give up on having goals for yours. Make goals or continue in persevering and working on the goals that you have set.
How do you set goals? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does a successful year look like to you?
- What areas of my life am I “fed-up” with that I want to change?
- What stops me from having goals?
- If I could do anything, what would that be?
- If there were no limits, what could I accomplish?
- What am I passionate about?
- What do I want to learn this year?
- If I don’t have any ideas, where can I go to get some ideas? Who can I talk to?
- What is a realistic and yet challenging goal?
- What do I need to have in place in order to achieve my goals?
Take the time and set at least a couple of goals for yourself this year. You will look back and know that 2017 is a year that you have accomplished much.