Failure is perceived as a scary thought, no one wants failure, right!? This is our natural human reaction but it also comes down to mindset. We are all individuals and each of us has our own perception of what failure is. That’s what we fear- we don’t want to be ‘a failure’.
Believe it or not, failure has a huge part to play in shaping us, growing us and helping us achieve our desired goals. It may sound crazy but you should seek failure. Ever heard of the term train to failure? Yep, when I’m in the gym I’ve trained with some very humble and great athletes who have pushed me to my limit and we trained till failure.
Why? Because that’s how we grow.
You train your muscles to failure so they are damaged. As result they repair, they grow and we are stronger. What’s more, is we have muscle memory so when we train like that again, we adapt and can give a bit more, we have more endurance. You see, our body has adapted and learnt. So, in essence, we have grown and extracted a lesson, so if that’s not growing from failure than what is?
Failure for me has allowed me to understand the areas I need to improve on in my career. My confidence has always been an area I’ve struggled with and this reflected massively on my presenting skills. So, what did I do? Practice, practice and practice to the point it came to me naturally. Over time my confidence grew and I was able to adapt and grow further to the point I was comfortable not only presenting but also delivering vlogs and interactive workshops.
And if you think about it, it’s the same as in the gym right? You practice and practice until one day you have a new PB, you did that extra rep, you ran a faster mile, you lasted another round.
Today I continue to take this approach as I want to continue to grow and develop as a marketer. My journey from being a Marketing graduate to the Marketing Director of one of Midlands longest standing agencies has been all about growing and learning from my failures.
So many successful people have taken the same path, by this I mean they have all learnt and grown from failure. Such as...
Walt Disney: He was fired from Kansas City Star in 1919 because the editor said he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”. Well, it turns out he did, as he went on to create the cultural icon that is Walt Disney.
Stephen King: His book Carrie was rejected 30 times so he threw it in the rubbish. Luckily his wife rescued the book and pushed him to resubmit it which led to his first book deal.
Thomas Edison: His teachers told him he was ‘too stupid to learn anything’. He went on to hold more than 1,000 patents which include the phonograph and electric lamp.
Michael Jordan: Was cut from his high varsity basketball team sophomore year. This only inspired him to work hard and he is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time.
Elvis: After he performed at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry he was told he should stick to his trade, driving trucks in Memphis and then was fired. Elvis went on to become a worldwide star and icon.
KFC: Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before founding his Kentucky Fried Chicken Empire at the age of 50.
Steve Jobs: Was fired from the company he founded, Apple. When he returned to Apple, he was the key driving force that led the business to become the most profitable company in the US and the reason why the majority of us own an Apple product today.
I could go on as there are so many great examples but what’s consistent is how each of them never gave in, they never accepted failure and walked away. They all learnt from it, they all grew because of it and they all went on to be successful in their own right.
Failure is where we find growth. How we learn from it and grow is down to our mindset. And your mindset is down to you.