Did You Fail or Did You Learn?

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford

We fail everyday – fail to catch the bus, fail to secure the order or fail to make our spouse happy and so on it goes. Granted I’m not talking about colossal failure here but nonetheless you failed or blew it. So what happens if you continuously miss the bus you need to catch to get to work on time? You get fired. If you know this is the likely outcome you leave earlier and make sure you arrive on time to start work. Pretty straight forward – you make the necessary changes and recalibrate your schedule so things work out. So what happens if you’re not closing the sales you need to meet your quota or bringing in enough new customers to fill your pipeline? If management is paying attention, someone comes and talks to you about it to coach you on how to improve or what resources to apply, and if you do what they recommend, you’ll likely close more sales. If not, you should sign-up for our e-learning selling skills program. Seriously.

There’s a deeper issue at play here though and that is – are you willing to initiate the changes, develop better practices or learn the skills to not fail in the first place? I’ve certainly failed my way forward. I also have been failing less and succeeding more, and to a higher level, because I’ve made changes throughout my career due to what my life lessons and experience have taught me. I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way to help you.

Reasons why we fail:

  1. Lack of preparation
  2. Arrogance
  3. Thinking we’re better than we really are
  4. Lowering our standards to mediocrity

Negative responses to failure:

  1. Avoiding situations that are difficult
  2. Making excuses
  3. Blaming others for what happened
  4. Denial or self-delusion

What we can LEARN from failure:

  1. Knowing what NOT to do next time
  2. Reflecting on what happened and how to improve
  3. Realizing we need help – finding a teacher/coach
  4. Changing our environment – peers, employer and friends
  5. Developing the self-discipline required to change (this is hard and we often need others to assist us)
  6. Being honest with ourselves and stop making excuses
  7. Raising our standards – aiming higher

What about you? Are you growing and learning from your setbacks, challenges and failures? Are you even open to examine your failures and setbacks?

Progressing and advancing in life requires courage, honesty and self-awareness. It’s easy to get distracted and focus on things that make you feel good and entertain you rather than digging in and doing the work. Be different and get better – have the courage to confront your fears and make the necessary changes required to push through your doubts and mental barriers in order to grow.

 “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

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