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How to Embrace, Encourage and Learn from Failure

future and past

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve failed during my hustle to find my passion to live a life I love.

There have been numerous times where I haven’t been able to get out of bed because dealing with rejection and failure was hard. Of course, in the beginning, there were times when I had tears running down my face because the stress of creditors calling, clients saying “no” and not being able to live the life I wanted broke me down.

If you have ever felt any of this before, nod your head or say “yes.”

I remember the day when I was brushing my teeth looking into the sink, raised my head then shouted, “F*ck this! I’m not going to fear failure anymore!” That, my friends, was a turning point in my life.

Michael Jordan has said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

As a millennial, you’re going to fail. I guarantee it. In fact, you should embrace and encourage it.

Your mission isn’t to not fail, it’s to convince yourself that it’s good for you. For the people I mentor, I ask them once a month, “What did you fail at this month?” Regardless of whether it’s professionally or personally, I want to challenge them because if they didn’t fail at something that tells me their goals or tasks weren’t big enough.

Call me crazy but I want to fail at something at least once a month. The primary reasons are because it keeps me humble and always keeps me striving to become better than the month before. For example, last month I told myself I would go to the gym at 5:30am five times a week and do sprints and jump rope. I failed, I only went three times but next month I will get this done.

Accepting failure goes hand in hand with self-competition. After not accomplishing a goal do this:

  • Understand why you didn’t accomplish it
  • Determine what needs to happen to accomplish it
  • Outline how you are going to do it

I’m not a big fan of reading self-help books. Instead, I spend my time learning more about myself by regularly (every three months) doing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) study. I take my SWOT, type it and then post it on my bathroom mirror so that I look at it every day.

Over the holidays, do this. Take a piece of paper and divide a page in half. The left hand column is where you right down what you succeeded at in 2013. The right hand column is where you failed and things you didn’t accomplish this year. Feel free to make it both professionally (career etc.) and personally (health etc.). Review your piece of paper and understand “why” each thing happened and write that down too. Lastly, do a SWOT study on yourself and get ready for 2014!

Can I ask you to be honest with me in the comment section? Comment on one thing you accomplished and one thing you failed at. I’ll go first.

See you next time.



3 Responses

  1. Geeat SWOT. Idea
    Failed: in getting to the gym and working out to achieve my goals. I was unsuccessful in promoting myself the way I should.
    Accomplished:I was successful in ensure all task have been completed accordingly to ensure my website is launched in time. Completing all my assignments and making deadling I created for myself.

  2. Thanks this is a great article on the importance of failure. If we never fail how can we grow? My goal this week was to finish editing the second draft of my book but I came nowhere near. But I had unexpected opportunities in another area of my business that I wouldn’t have noticed if I’d had my head down all week. Every cloud has a silver lining!

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