Success AND Failure
To continue to help you be a better leader I wanted to focus on your mindset this month. There are so many myths out there as well as stories and depictions that don’t really add value or help you create success in your life or your leadership.
For example, many success gurus purport a 1953 Yale Study that proved that the 3% of graduates who wrote down their goals accounted for 97% of the class’ wealth. Have you ever heard of this study? Truth is: It never happened.
How about the story that your mom told you: if you swallow your gum it will take 7 years to digest? Nope. That’s not true either. (And if you ever swallowed any of that fluorescent Gator Gum, you already knew that.)
The Road to Success
How about this depiction?
It’s also a myth!
It looks like the road to success goes in one direction and the road to failure goes in the opposite direction. This can create what we call the “sucker’s choice“. Either you have to choose success OR you have to choose failure. The sucker’s choice is rarely the correct perspective.
It’s another one of those myths which won’t add value to your life. It is simply not the truth and will probably take away value from your life. If you continue to believe this IS the road sign of life, you can unintentionally create a sabotaging mental habit or mindset that keeps you from your success, your goals, and your dreams.
The road to success is paved with failures. Failure is the price that you pay for your success. If you spend your time trying to avoid failure, you will get what you pay for. You will probably be standing still or going in the same vicious circle you’ve been going in for years.
The course you take to success WILL have failure stops along the way. The real question for you is: how effectively do you manage those failures?
Also, you’ll notice in the picture above that there isn’t just one road that leads to your success. I believe that even if you make a wrong turn you can still get there… it just may take a little longer, but you can still enjoy exploring the new areas on your journey.
Your Mental Programs
Our minds have been programmed to believe that failure is the final step. Remember in school, if you failed your test, you failed. Might as well paint the big loser “L” on your forehead. Oh, and remember those kids that were “held back”. They were branded failures for years. Really? They were failures? NO! Of course not. But as we go through life, we see examples of this everywhere.
Lose and you must be a loser. Fail and you must be a failure. Leaders who see failure as the opposite of success aren’t leaders at all; they are critics, judges and autocrats. This mindset in a leader is very dangerous for those whom they lead. A leader who believes failure is not part of success will have a team that is slow moving if moving at all. Team members will be idling in park afraid of moving forward. If they are idling in park, do they really need a leader? I mean, you can’t steer a parked car, can you?
What’s amazing is that in America (and probably elsewhere around the world), we love to see the great comeback! You know, someone who really messes up and then overcomes their failures or shortcomings. Do you realize that you would never see a comeback if people avoided failure or never failed? There would be no second chance for Michael Vick or Tiger Woods… no second chance for Ben Affleck, Elton John or Drew Barrymore after their drug addictions. (Yet there are some with the “fail and you are a failure” mindset that don’t care to see them make it.) Every President of the US would be a failure. Every CEO, teacher, lawyer, doctor, garbage collector… ok, every human being would be a failure with this closed mindset.
Success is not an “either / or” scenario. (We call that systemic in the world of axiology.) Success is rarely systemic. The real secret of success is that there is no secret!! It’s an “either / and / and” scenario. You can fail AND succeed. You will become a success AND fail. The difference between success and failure simply lies in your response to the inevitable failures you encounter along the road of life.
How do you respond to these “inevitable failures”?
- Do you avoid them at all costs?
- Does your mind tell you that if you fail you are a failure?
- Are you so focused on perfection that you are sometimes paralyzed from taking a chance?
- Do you spend hours/days/months beating yourself up when you make them?
- Do you escape and imagine what life will be like when you are a success?
These choices can all be dangerous and derail you from your path to success.
You can choose to think differently.
You can choose to look for challenges even if you may fall short.
You don’t get stronger by looking at the weights; you get stronger by picking them up. You get stronger through the challenge. Leaders don’t fear the resistance, they embrace it. It’s the “getting back up” despite how far or how hard you have fallen that builds your strength and leadership.
- Leaders help others to learn! They don’t just tell them what to do.
- Leaders allow others to think and grow in the direction of THEIR talents to achieve THEIR success.
- Leaders help others to prepare for failures and give them tools for reaching their success.
- Leaders help others to overcome their failures. They don’t point fingers and blame.
- Leaders are not afraid to be the example of overcoming failure on their road to success!
I wish you many challenges and failures because I am certain they will lead to your great success, joy and happiness!!