Failure Is Awesome.
Yes. Failure is a humbling and brilliant teacher.
I admit the idea of singing the praises of failure kind of messes with peoples’ minds because it is just so different than what we are taught to believe.
Failure is a phenomenal gift whether we are aware of it or not. We often learn far more from our failures than our “high five” moments. And if we can increase our awareness of the value of failure, we can draw upon it for so much more.
Consider the Oscars
The recent Academy Awards were a revealing representation of all things up AND down. This year we watched winners and losers who failed many times before. Some suffered the depths of less than A-list careers (think Sandra Bullock), 50-year careers without an Oscar (think Jeff Bridges) and being nominated more times than anyone else but failed to win 16 freakin’ times (think Meryl Streep).
It’s so fascinating to observe how success and failure work together to add to the richness of life.
Perhaps Jeff Bridges exemplified this reality most vividly. He referenced an earlier and far less commercially successful movie role he had in The Big Lebowski. When asked to comment on his long career without an Oscar, Jeff humbly quoted his Lebowski character, Dude, a bowling aficionado, saying:
“Strikes and gutters, man!”
In so doing, Jeff Bridges didn’t veil his failures. He honored them. And he deftly demonstrated for all of us what success REALLY looks like.
Success is made up of individual moments.
Practicing your craft. Honing your skills. Working through the “gutters.” Suffering humiliation on occasion. Imagining glory. And savoring the truly delicious “strikes” along the way.
This year’s Oscars were an AHA moment for me. As I looked at Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, I suddenly recognized how they have brilliantly turned failure into success during their careers.
How can YOU enjoy the value failure has to offer like these actors?
First YOU have to get ego out of the way. Then reflect on the following:
1. Question the notion that failing is bad.2. Prove the value of failure by listing benefits of a significant disappointment in your life.
3. Document how many failures it takes you to reach your desired “success.”
4. Determine how you can fail “faster” so you can achieve the results you want more quickly.
5. Notice examples of “successful” failures in our culture – just like this year’s Oscar nominees – to gain a realistic perspective of the balance between failures and desired results.
Let’s face it. Failures are a necessary part of the road to success.
I would even argue they are valuable emotional markers along the way. Markers to be celebrated more. As a vital part of the journey to creating the legacy you’re here to create.
Think about how actor Jack Lemmon viewed failure when he stated: “Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.” And, writer Truman Capote once offered this wonderful definition: “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
Allow yourself to become aware of how failure is a natural and regular result of the cycle of life. Let’s try to tap its potential more and even embrace, to all of our strikes and gutters.