Most people see failure as something that is to be avoided at all costs. We tend to connect failure with bad experiences. Possibly the “F” we received on a school assignment or maybe your parents placed too high of expectations of you and it kept you from trying.
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, revolutionized the women’s underwear industry and became a billionaire. Early on, Sara overcame a series of obstacles: zero experience in the hosiery industry, lack of an education in business, and only $5,000 to invest. When asked where she found the courage, she gave all the credit to her dad. While most parents ask their kids, “How was your day?” Sara’s dad asked her and her brother, “What did you fail at today?”
Anderson Cooper, a journalist with CNN, interviewed Sara and she told him: “Instead of failure being the outcome, failure became ‘not trying’. It forced me at a young age to want to push myself so much further out of my comfort zone.” In reality, Sara’s father had re-defined failure. It became more about learning and less about a personal weakness.
“We must remind ourselves that failure is an action, it does not define us, but instead matures us.”
If we view failure as a weakness, we avoid stepping out of our comfort zone. Instead we must remind ourselves that failure is an action, it does not define us, but instead matures us. I’m sure that there are many risks we would all take in our personal, professional and spiritual lives if we could get past the fear of failure.
Tom Peters once stated: “When we fail, fail fast.”
Neal A. Maxwell once stated: “Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.”
There are numerous examples of great people who initially failed at their craft: Walt Disney, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Edison to name a few.
If we are smart, we will learn more from our failures than our successes.