I was giving a talk last week to a room full of Mompreneurs.
My talk was on work life balance, and at the end when I opened the floor up for questions, it was obvious that what most of the women were struggling with was motivation. Many had started businesses and were struggling. Some had started and failed, and were wanting to start again. Some were just thinking of starting but were scared to take the first step.
At one point ,when a mom was sharing her recent failure, I interrupted and exclaimed “You failed, that’s great!”. She stopped talking and looked at me like I had three heads. “But I failed” she repeated, “how is that great?”
It struck me then, just how many people don’t realise just how powerful failure is.
Failure is the point of learning, for without failure, you will not grow.
Consider a baby learning to walk, and how much failure is required before he gets it right. First he must learn to crawl: he rocks back and forth on his hands and knees, then falls flat on his face. Undeterred, he gets up again and off he goes, until eventually he learns how to coordinate his hands and legs to move forward. Not satisfied with just this, he sets his sights on standing up. But how to do it? Oh yes, there’s a handy couch for pulling myself up on. So off he goes, and tries to pull himself up. After falling flat on his face several times, he finally masters the art of standing.
But whoops, how do I get down again? First he screams and cries for someone to help him (sound familiar?), and if that doesn’t work, he falls with a bump. But do you think he thinks, “That was awful, I’m never trying that again!” Of course not, up he goes again to stand at the sofa, and eventually after failing time and time again, he finally figures out how to bend his knees and get down. Eventually, when he finds his balance to stand unaided, he takes his first tentative step by himself.
What do you think would happen if he gave up at the first hurdle? Do you think he would ever walk?
Where did we learn that failure was bad?
Instead of trying to cover up your failure and give up at the first hurdle, learn to embrace it. The most successful people on this earth are the most successful because they have failed more than everyone else. An athlete reaches point of failure every single day in their training career. It’s how they make their bodies stronger. When they know their failure point, they know their next goal.
Failure is the only way you will ever figure out how strong you really are.