Failure: It’s a buzzword on the lips of successful millionaires and personal development gurus alike.
"Fail beautifully,” they’ll tell you from their mansions in Italy.
“You can’t be afraid to fail,” they’ll preach before driving off in their Maseratis.
It’s true. Most of them have failed multiple times and in huge ways. We're talking about bankruptcy and homelessness.
When we hear these stories, it’s always after the fact. It’s easy to reflect upon failure in successful hindsight. However, it’s very difficult to talk about failure when you’re smack-dab in the middle of it.
I know this because I'm smack-dab in the middle of it.
In a lot of ways, I'm very successful. I have a great comedy book, and I'm an excellent public speaking coach and speaker. I'm a thoughtful friend and a loving daughter.
However, I also do business development for a training firm, and there’s a metric I need to hit each quarter.
Quite frankly, I’m nowhere near my metric.
In fact, I'm so far from my metric, I wouldn't be able see it with an advanced version of Google Glass. Donald Trump is more likely to become president than I am likely to hit my metric.
In that sense, I’m failing. I'm failing beautifully.
Except, it doesn’t feel beautiful. It feels terrible and embarrassing.
That’s why people don't write about failure when they’re in the middle of it. We’re afraid we’ll be judged by this one event, and that somehow, our inability to succeed in this one area will translate to other areas.
We’re afraid people will judge our characters, intelligence or ambition. We’re afraid we'll never get to a place of successful hindsight.
Yet, we’ve heard from these millionaires that failure is a part of life. So, how do we self-correct when we’re on a bumpy course?
1. Assess if you actually want to succeed at this particular thing.
Figure out if this is something you enjoy doing. Is it something you want to be successful at, or do you just think you should be successful at it?
In the words of Lisa Nichols:
Sometimes you’re in a lane that’s not your lane.
Don't waste a ridiculous amount of time and energy on something, if it's not what you really want to be doing. If this is the case, skip to the third step.
2. If the answer is "yes," look at your current action plan.
On a piece of paper, prepare two columns.
The first column will be what is working. The second column will be what isn't working.
Be specific, and stop doing the things that aren’t working. Spend more time on the things that are working.
If you have nothing listed in the “what’s working” category, look at other people who are successful at whatever you’re trying to accomplish, and start doing those things.
3. Be strategic with your life.
Write down your goals for one year from now. Start out by generally assessing what you want from life, and then get specific about the thing you’re failing at.
When I was younger, my dad taught me a wonderful acronym called SPIDOG, which stands for Solve your problems in the direction of your goals.
Use this process while making decisions.
Ask yourself, "Am I solving my problems in the direction of my goals?"
Create some action steps that will take you in the direction of your goals.
4. Make some moves.
Your moves could either be big or small, but you need to do something. Don’t just sit and stagnate.
Don’t let your self-esteem get so low you think you’re incapable of succeeding at anything.
Don’t let your failure take a toll on your health, your relationships and your overall peace of mind.
Change your trajectory with action.
5. Sing some Journey.
Okay, “Don’t Stop Believin'” is cheesy. But, you need to remember that whatever you’re going through is temporary. It doesn’t define you.
In this moment, it feels very serious. But, you have to have the faith it will pass.
Keep moving forward with one foot in front of the other.
Failing is the worst; I know. But, I’m also about to make some big moves, and honestly, I feel really great about them.
Instead of being a passenger in my own failure, I finally feel like I’m back in control.
So, what are you doing to fix some of your current failures?