Failure is a good thing.
There, I said it.
My past experiences have given me clarity about the topic of failure. In essence, I believe that the best life and business lessons come from setbacks and failures.
Some of these setbacks felt like a kick in the belly from a jackbooted storm trooper. Yeah, it hurt, and it stopped me dead in my tracks for a while.
In 2006, I had my back against the wall. My traditional business (property and finance) was on the ropes, and I hadn’t paid myself a living wage for months. Something had to change. And change it did. In October of that year, I joined an affiliate marketing program as a newbie online marketer. Fifty-five days later I had generated commissions of more than $AU50,000, and created a brand new career path for myself.
Ten years later here I am. I’m still marketing online, but now things are different. I’m a digital nomad and live in Asia. I love to explore different cultures and the decision I made back in 2006 enabled me to realize my dream. In fact, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. But the point is that without adversity, it wouldn’t have happened.
If I DIDN’T have that major setback life would have stayed the same; in a rut, living in Brisbane Australia, and leading a comfortable but boring life. Adversity was like an anvil – it forged a new me and a new life.
Not everyone sees things the way I do. They see failure as an inherently bad thing – to be avoided at all costs. Some don’t try new things because they’re so terrified of failure they’d rather take a pass on life, and cower in the corner like a terrified puppy dog. Thumbsuckers!
The key is to look at failures and setbacks not as stumbling blocks, but as stepping stones to bigger and better things. It all depends on your attitude and your outlook on life.
Before I give you my little success formula, I want to mention a book that has had a positive impact on tens of thousands of people all over the world. It’s called Failing Forward and famous American leadership expert, John C. Maxwell is the author.
According to Maxwell ‘the major difference between achieving people and average people is their perception of and response to failure’. Well said. A lot of people see failure as an unmitigated disaster – the end of their world as they know it.
The book includes lots of examples and stories to inspire you and give you the mental tools you need to make a shift. Look at the book as a strategic guide – it may help you move ‘beyond mistakes’ and reach your full potential.
So if you haven’t read his book I suggest you do it – you can pick it up at Amazon.
So here are four steps you can take to help you quickly recover from setbacks:
Years ago I went to a seminar to hear an American motivational speaker, Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones. Charlie is dead now, but he left an indelible impression on his audience, including me. He was an old world southern gentleman with a larger than life presence – the kind of guy you would never forget. He was also hysterically funny. So, apart from his jokes the thing I remember most was his story about the pendulum.
He said you shouldn’t panic when things go wrong because sooner or later the pendulum will swing back in your favor. But there was one proviso – don’t quit! If you quit you will lose all of the hidden benefits derived from the work you’d done previously. So the point is that you shouldn’t allow setbacks to deflect you. You may be very close to a great future – you could be ‘that close’.
Nothing is linear – straight line progress doesn’t exist. You move forward then a setback interrupts your well-laid plan (often at the most inconvenient times). But hang in there because soon enough you’ll probably move forward again.
The way I look at it is this: ‘one door shuts, another one opens’. Is it true? I reckon. Even when something catastrophic happens, you need to press on. So the message is that if you are to transition to the next stage of your journey, look for the message or the lesson. There is always a lesson, particularly if the setback or failure came from an error in judgment on your part.
Have you heard of the Prosperity Law of Vacuum? It works like this: create a space for the good you desire. If you have clutter in your life, use your latest setback as an opportunity to get your house in order. Clutter can include relationships that have passed their use-by date, too many non-essential activities (e.g., wasting time on Facebook), and physical items you don’t use anymore. Get rid of them! ‘Cleaning house’ is like a mental and physical spring clean before you reboot.
Motivational speaker, Bob Proctor, used to say that we need to ‘let go and let God.’ And it’s true. We must have faith. Trust the process – you must believe that your next successful experience is just around the corner. Do you believe it? Good. You have now been released from worry, angst and doubt! That’s what faith is all about isn’t it?
Failing forward? Yep – failure is not a dirty word. So keep your gaze firmly fixed on the future, not the past.
Related posts. This post represents part of an ongoing series on handling setbacks and failure. Here are some more:
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I've been an online marketer since 2006. During that time I've learned alot and made a full time living from month 1. I established this site to share my knowledge with you. Who knows - maybe you will change your life, just like I have.