I read a week or so ago about a school that was introducing impossible tests for very bright children so that they learnt to fail. On the face of it, this may appear to be slightly over the top, but I thought it was a refreshing idea.
I come from a generation where failure was a bad thing, and it’s quite possible that the generation before and after me think the same thing. But as I’ve got older I have learnt to realise that these small failures in life are actually the best thing that happens to you, these failures are in fact the way that we learn, and often they are not failures at all. The trick is to ensure that you look at them in the right way.
So for example. my first business didn’t even get off the ground, I had a name, eventually a website, I’d networked and did some social media stuff. What a failure you might think. For a while I thought the same, but then I decided to focus on what I had learnt from the experience. Before this business I didn’t even know what a domain name was, Facebook pages a complete mystery and as for Twitter, what exactly was a tweet? By the end of the process, although the business no longer existed, I had learnt so much more about business, so many skills that would help me in the future businesses that I would run. More importantly, I realised that that business idea was more about pleasing other people’s expectations about what I should be doing, not what I wanted to do, so I was very pleased it hadn’t got anywhere. So really it was not much of a failure after all.
The definition of failure is ‘lack of success’. So to really conclude that you have failed is to look at what you have ‘failed’ at and ask yourself is there absolutely nothing successful about what I have done? Only if there is absolutely nothing can you truly conclude it is a failure. If you think about my experience, there is nothing in it that lacks success, in fact the whole venture was successful if you look at it in terms of ‘what was successful about that’. The key is to break the situation down and really look at what happened instead of looking at it as a whole and giving it an unrealistic successful expectation.
Another example of this would by my book ‘Feel Good Factor in 30 days’, if I look at this as a whole and give it the successful expectation of it selling millions and one that I can retire on then yes it has been a complete failure! But if I break it down and look at what happened, well, I was asked to write this column as a result, I’ve helped masses of people who have read it, it’s been number one in the Amazon charts and I’ve met so many people as a result ~ in fact the things that have come from writing that one book are so many! Also I learnt so much as I did it and I am continuing to learn as a result of the many things that have happened as a result.
So in my view, there is no such thing as failure, only experience and if we live our lives scared of failure, then we are denying ourselves the experience of learning. We learn all the time, so the next time, things don’t go as you expected, instead of saying ‘I’m such a failure’ just check in with those expectations, and ask yourself, ‘what good stuff really happened’, ‘what did I learn’ and I am sure that your failure won’t be such a failure after all.
love Andrea xx