Success is built on defeat
At the 2015 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, I was inspired by many great leaders sharing things they were learning in their own work and development as people of influence. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the importance of having dreams and understanding that the path leading to them is filled with bigger or smaller failures. That’s why you need to learn to fail.
What are the Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs)?
Big, hairy, audacious goals are the dreams that all of us have, but sometimes are scared to believe that they can be achieved. They are an important part of meaningful work which contributes to a meaningful life.
To achieve your dreams (BHAG’s), you will be required to work hard knowing that success is not guaranteed. Pursuing them will mean ups and downs, probably more often the latter. But that is the nature of the process of achieving any goals. When people have the courage to pursue and overcome the failures, transformation occurs.
What I’ve learned about the importance of failing:
1. Failure is good. It’s a lesson
There is a reason behind every failure. It is important to analyse the situation and establish what went wrong. This will allow you to gain a better understanding of the situation so you can progress further in order to achieve your dreams.
2. Everyone falters sometimes
Everybody failed. Be it a child tripping over when learning to walk, an adolescent falling short to pass his driving test or a professional athlete missing the winning shot in a game. Failure is perfectly normal and you have to learn how to respond to it.
3. It is the pillar of success
Michael Jordan missed 26 winning shots in his career; J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers; Walt Disney was fired from Kansas City Star for ‘lack of imagination’. The most successful people have failed again and again, but learnt how to get back up and continue to pursue their dreams until they achieved them.
4. It helps to become ‘tough’
If you repeatedly experience defeats, with time you will learn to fail. It will be easier for you to get back up afterwards and acknowledge that success doesn’t come easy.
People are not perfect
It is important to understand that failure is unavoidable. However hard we try, we are bound to fail time and time again. Some people give up and lose faith when they fail, but some stand back up, learning their lessons and upgrading their approach to fulfil their BHAGs. If you learn to fail and understand that defeat is an integral part of success, it will be easier for you to adjust your perception of it and achieve your dreams.
How do you respond to failure? Is it halting your dreams or do you use it as a building block? Let me know in the comments!