We all want to be successful right? We want to be professionally and personally accomplished. We want to achieve one great accomplishment after another. We want to achieve that “Aha!” or “Eureka” moment and have everything just work.
I think that, for most us, when we hear that someone is successful, we assume they are an executive at a company, that they’re making lots of money and that they have at least 5 houses in several different countries. And honestly, many of those things and more may correlate with success. We may think that those people are just successful people and that’s it, but we never consider the failures that it took for them to get there or the curve balls that life threw them.
I read articles on LinkedIn daily about all those great success stories. I follow LinkedIn Influencers and look to them for positivity, inspiration and motivation. I read about what they’ve done in their careers and what their goals are for the future. And truthfully, I find myself thinking and questioning “how did they get there?”
That’s the thing though, we treat success as a goal, something that is sought after and achieved, but rarely do we acknowledge our failures as successes. And more importantly, we treat ourselves as if we are limited in our current roles to meet our goals as if we are locked in a room without doors. We limit ourselves when we hit a wall and feel defeated. We feel zapped of our energy and exhausted. We don’t think to pick up the sledge hammer and knock down the wall to push through it.
And of course, when you put time and effort and money into something and it doesn’t achieve the desired results, it feels terrible. We let this mentality hold onto us and sometimes find excuses or scapegoats for why we are just so unlucky.
I hope I don’t sound detached or “all knowing” from a distant perspective, because I have been there…a lot. I have lost track races, and missed school records by .01 seconds. I have had marketing campaigns not work after hours, weeks and months of planning. I have felt like I just couldn’t win. Whether it’s being put on hold and transferred to 5 different departments before someone can help you, battling a bill that you shouldn’t have received, missing the bus as it drives away when you’re sprinting after it, getting into a fender bender of a car accident, or losing a loved one and ask “why me?” Trust me I have been there and the negativity and unfortunate circumstances can take its toll.
I fail daily and often. I have had to rethink my strategies and my training and ultimately reprogram the way I think. I have had to practice harder and longer, and work later. However, the silver lining isn’t the grand prize, but it’s the small wins. It’s being able to have a different mentality when life doesn’t go as planned. It’s running races .02 seconds faster each time. Having people respond to you after receiving an email that they found extremely helpful. It’s finding strength in moments of weakness. It’s having positive people in your life. It’s recognizing your situation and having a plan of action.
So my advice is to fail and fail often, but fail just a little better each time. Document your efforts, measure them, redefine them and go after it again. Acknowledge failure and embrace it, but do not accept it. Push past it and try again. It’s going to take a lot of work and may even break your heart a few times, but truthfully what sets the “good” apart from the “great” is perseverance. I think you will find yourself most successful when you tackle obstacles better each time and do it with a love for life.