Would you be surprised if I told you I have failed in life over and over again? (Trust me I wasn’t smiling in the process but when I did look back – only then was I able to smile and appreciate the lessons).
What if I told you that failing was(is) the greatest teacher I’ve had? We live in a culture that teaches us that failure is bad. That if we set goals and pursue our dreams and we don’t meet them – if we don’t accomplish what we have set out to do then we have failed.
Vincent Van Gogh failed as an art dealer, flunked his entrance exam to theology school, and was fired by the church after an ill-fated attempt at missionary work. In fact, during his life, he seldom experienced anything other than failure as an artist. Although a single painting by Van Gogh would fetch in excess of $100 million today, in his lifetime Van Gogh sold only one painting, four months prior to his death. – excerpt from John Maxwell’s Failing Forward
Several if not all of the people we admire have failed. As a matter of fact, many of them attribute their failure to the reason they are successful today.
Personally one of the greatest lessons I have learned from failure is that with each failure – I am stronger and wiser than my past.
As noted by Leadership Expert John Maxwell, F.A.I.Lure is simply feedback and its lessons – an opportunity to learn. You are NOT a failure – a part of the process or steps we took to get there failed. Reviewing the steps will reveal that part of the process. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. (Meaning don’t discount your entire journey because one part of the process did not work out).
Research shows that Michael Jackson, Shaq O’Neal, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah and much more have failed.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Here are some goals I set last year that I failed at:
Goal #1: The Karlyn & Katya Show
Katya and I are two Bay Street leaders who both quit our full-time jobs and delved into full-time entrepreneurship. We were both in the season of discovery and thought to not only keep each other accountable – we decided to document the journey & share it with the world. As we embarked on this – we both realized that we bit off more than we can chew. Trying to set up your business, get clients, market, network and more is A LOT. We were so taxed with just trying to figure this out – we were both emotionally drained. We had schedules and meetings set for our videos but during the process, we realized that this was pulling us away from being present in the journey. There are lots that we don’t know and lots that we are still figuring out. We both realized that we needed the time to process, evaluate and document in our own way until we figure out what this needs to be.
FAIL FORWARD LESSON:
Allowing me to ‘BE” with & fully present on the journey: Don’t rush the process – stay focused on ONE thing at a time (a real struggle for me – a Recovering-Superwoman-I-Can-Do-It-All- + Bay Street mindset syndrome). Not every part of the journey needs to be shared. I learned that it’s important to allow things to be before I can DO. Not everything needs to be a goal – not everything needs to have a specific outcome – sometimes pursuing things just for fun or “just to see how it goes or how I will like it” is a good way to explore who we are and the woman or man we are becoming. Life is and should be fun and it’s important for me to allow space for “being” in my life.
GOAL #2: VIP Mastermind Day
While this was a great idea – this was truly one of my “squirrel – shiny object” moments. Whilst I had the tools available to do this the timing was just wrong. I didn’t give myself enough time to flush it & to promote it as well. I am also learning that while people might say they want something, they do not necessarily mean it. There are seasons and reasons for everything and this wasn’t the season to launch but I pushed forward, launched, spent time creating content and while I had a few inquiries – NO ONE SIGNED UP! Like zero.
FAIL FORWARD LESSON:
Set realistic expectations & honour the pauses. While I think I can do it all – truth is I cannot. Sometimes you can have the right goal, just not the right timing or season. Also, not every goal is meant to be shared. Sometimes there is greater movement in silence and learning to honour the power of the pause is something I am still trying to be still with. Sometimes we set goals to fill a void – when we find time or space in our lives we rush to fill it with something. I’m learning not to rush things, to honour the pauses and silent moments in my life and to find my own pace for what matters the most. This is why my Theme Word for this year is Essentialism – the pursuit of doing less. Focusing on higher impact & quality. The greater the quality of the work I put out, the more I am able to help you ACTivate your full potential and support you on your journey to success.
GOAL #3: Launch Membership Site
This was a huge one for me. We started off on this journey with great intentions and while it was and still is a goal the results I was expecting for last year weren’t very viable. I eventually asked for help which gave me a deeper insight into the actual process. Sometimes we romanticize our goals and while it’s important to see the end result – it is equally important to flush out the detailed steps and have a work back schedule with realistic timelines. We didn’t launch the Membership Site but based on our research – I changed the timelines and the “how” to getting there – We will be launching the Success by Design online eCourse on another hosted site. This was a conclusion I could’ve come to much earlier if I allowed more flexibility in my “how”. I was disappointed and yes I did feel like a failure (because my end goal was a membership site designed as per my vision on my website.) When I asked myself the WMTM – what matters the most here? The answer was loud and clear – – getting the Leadership Site launched!
FAIL FORWARD LESSON:
Allow room for varying end results of goals. It’s like rejecting my dream of having a Chanel purse because I didn’t get the colour I wanted. Yes, I wanted a black Chanel purse but I got a beige Chanel – in the end, it’s STILL a Chanel purse!!!!! Pay more attention to the process and the actual effort (time + + emotion management + energy) it will take to have something completed. As much as I did have help – I have to review the process, content, graphics etc... I learned that sometimes your end goal will take longer to achieve and that it’s ok to amend the “how” you get there along the way.
3 Powerful Fail Forward Lessons I Took With Me in 2018 (Summary)
Don’t rush the process & trust the season and timing of your goals- give me permission to find out how long each task ACTUALLY take and abide by my timelines.
Focus on the bigger picture: Honor the end result, the process, and the timelines – even if it doesn’t look like what you wanted it to look like. I had expectations of a membership site on my website and stubbornly held on to that. Focusing on the Chanel purse regardless of the colour is one powerful lesson I’m taking with me.
I share these 3 lessons with you in the hopes that you too find your lessons and FAIL forward this year. Your journey to success will come with feedback and its lesson. Don’t get lost in the feedBACK – just get the lesson, get back up and try again.
And as my wise Virtual Mentor Winnie the Pooh reminds us all,
“Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.” Winnie the Pooh
Is self-doubt a constant companion? Are imposter syndrome moments keeping you from realizing your biggest dreams and desires? Maybe shame is getting in the way of moments of courageous action? Or maybe it’s something entirely different.
Discovering what’s getting in the way of your success is the first step to dreaming bigger into your purpose.