The Moment We Begin to Fail

5 min read

Education & Career Trends: August 28

Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

When mistakes are free of judgment, they’re a great source of wisdom.

One of the reasons why I love Brené Brown so much is that she takes traditional concepts and flips them on their head. She doesn’t say the only way out of fear requires a heroic step into the unknown. She says that we must redefine the idea of failure itself. And more importantly, it’s a very personal journey.

As failure and success are interchangeable, the way we define success also determines how we experience it. That’s why Brené Brown so brilliantly said:

“We fail the minute we let someone else define success for us.”

So let’s look at failure and some very successful people who have used it to propel them forward, not by avoiding it but by embracing the wisdom that it holds.

“If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. These are the physics of vulnerability.” — Brené Brown

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” — Albert Einstein

When mistakes are free of judgment, they’re a great source of wisdom. If everything is hunky-dory and life cruises along without any challenges, there’s often nothing to learn.

I know this from learning some of my most significant insights on the back of some of my biggest “mistakes.” How then, can I berate myself for something that’s provided so much growth?

Only when I try new things can I make the necessary mistakes that bring me closer to personal truth. So, I often measure my courage by how willing I am to try new things.

“Failure can become our most powerful path to learning if we’re willing to choose courage over comfort.

I think the people who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses in this world. This is especially true of people who rumble with failure.” — Brene Brown

“Your failures make your successes so much more meaningful.” — Brené Brown

When I wrote a blog that paid for my rent I jumped around the living room in my underpants, not because I was rich and famous but because I’d spent months and months working really hard toward having such a moment.

Before that, there were weeks of frustration, despair, confusion, and more mistakes than I care to admit. But those mistakes made my successes possible and so much sweeter as a result.

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

He then went on to say:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six 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.”

The only person who has been more persistent in life than Michael Jordan was Thomas Edison (the lightbulb guy). He famously said, “I have not failed, I'[ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

So, don’t be fooled — even the greats fail. They don’t give up on their dreams before they reach them.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.“ — Thomas Edison

There is no such thing as failure; failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” — Oprah Winfrey

In the past, I’ve often wanted to quit because I’ve cared too much about what people think. This did nothing but cause me shame, doubt, judgment, and limitation.

Now failure is just a pivot point; a moment of reflection; a time to take stock, rest, and find the courage to start over again in a new way.

“There is no innovation without failure.” — Brené Brown

“Stop trying to be perfect.” — Brené Brown

It’s such a relief when the idea of perfectionism fades away and in its place lies a curiosity to learn and grow.

Brené Brown is one of those thought leaders who give us the permission to fall, get back up and start the journey toward failure all over again.

“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” — Brene Brown

“Don’t worry about rejections. All you need is one person to say yes.” — Jay Shetty

All that stands in the way of our dreams is a human being moving toward theirs. When those stars align, magic happens. But sometimes it can take a little time to get there.

So, be patient. Stay true to yourself, and remain confident in your ability. The rest will figure itself out in due course.

“You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world, and as you walk through those doors today, you will only have two choices: love or fear.

Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”— Jim Carrey

Closing Thoughts

If the minute we fail is influenced by letting someone else define success for us, then the solution is simple: find the courage to define it for ourselves.

That will look and feel a million different ways for a million different people and there is no right or wrong way. Courage is born by owning our dreams, taking steps toward them, and knowing we’ll fall many times along the way.

So, success, if anything, is having the strength to get back up and keep moving on regardless.

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet

Nine 10-Minute Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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