Enjoy the Success of Failure


“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.“         -Theodore Roosevelt

Sitting in front of my computer I was struck by the years of experience that have gone into understanding a really important principal.  Success is born out of risk taking.  It is born out of creating and negotiating self imposed “stretch goals”

The recipe for success, as Theodore Roosevelt and many other highly successful individuals have stated throughout history, isn’t born from a place of playing it safe but rather from a place of playing it big.  The downside, for every magnificent success there is likely a series of difficult, yet game changing, failures.

As a coach, there is no better place to work from than a place where failure has occurred.  Let me ask a few questions before I continue:

  • When you think about success does failure come to mind as part of the formula?
  • Does fear of failing hold you back from expressing or trying new things?
  • Do you place a high value on failure?  Is that value negative or positive?
  • Do you harness the lessons born out of failure and use them towards  future success?
  • Are you defeated by failure or do you embrace and let the pain of defeat drive you forward?
  • Can you be as proud of your failures as you are of your successes?

Have you ever watched children learning new things?  They have no judgment if they don’t succeed the first time.  As I watch my great niece learning to walk, I find myself fascinated by the fact that  no matter how many times she falls, she picks herself up again and continues to try.

Her brain is incorporating the lessons learned from taking that first step and falling to supporting her in taking the next ten steps.  Soon, her brain in conjunction with muscle memory, will forget how hard it was to learn those first few steps.  She will simply be walking as if she always has.

I wonder, as I watch, when she will begin to place a value on her successes or failures?  I am curious to watch, as she grows, whether she will embrace a philosophy that allows for growth through risk taking and failure or whether she will keep her world safe and judge herself only through her success?  My hope is that she chooses to embrace her failure and use it so that it becomes part of her DNA, so innate to her value base that it becomes a full partner in her success.

My hope is that she will play that bigger game.  Love the journey.  Take her knocks and challenge herself through each failure to drive harder towards her best success.  The success of failure is that it teaches us important lessons about that next step, about our resilience, about how we create our path about how we succeed!  Without failure their can be no creativity, no challenge, no learning and no growth.

As a coach I encourage you to learn to embrace and grow through your magnificent failures.  Your success depends on it!