My definition of failure is not taking a chance. Not risking it. Playing it safe.
Everything else that other people might call failures, I prefer to think of as lessons.
Failure would be giving up without absorbing the lessons that might contribute to my personal and professional growth.
You’re probably familiar with this well-known quote:
What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?
– Robert Schuller
It’s a good one, huh? What would you try if you were assured a successful outcome?
There’s zero risk, so why not?
I’ll tell you why not. Because it doesn’t sound like fun. It’s a gimme. There’s no adrenaline rush or sense of accomplishment if you already know the outcome.
I like this updated version:
If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure.
– Elon Musk
In other words, what do you believe in so passionately that you are ready to take a chance on it even if your success isn’t guaranteed?
Why do it if you are pretty sure you’re going to fail? After all, it goes against our human tendency to protect ourselves from fear and rejection.
Because of this one word: Progress.
A Life Lived Fully
You’ll never know what is possible until you take bold steps into the unknown.
Imagine a life lived fully – ready to take risks, aware that success isn’t guaranteed, and knowing that every failure gets us closer to the greatest rewards.
Consider all of the colorful obstacles and people you will meet along the way that will enrich your life.
On the other hand, imagine living a life marked by regrets. Refrains of What if or If I had only.
If I had only reached out to x? Or … What if I implemented the lessons sooner?
Here’s a go-to question for you to ask yourself when you’re hesitating to make a daring move:
Would I rather risk failure now or regret later that I didn’t try?
Where Are You Playing It Safe?
A few months ago I asked a client what her acceptance rate was for getting into art shows. (She hadn’t been too thrilled with results at those shows.)
“Nearly 100%,” she said proudly.
“You’ve set the bar too low,” I replied.
She needed to look for more prestigious shows and venues that are in alignment with her dreams.
To her credit, she met my challenge. The first show she heard back from said Yes, and was one she didn’t think she had a chance with previously.
Her acceptance rate is going to plummet, and that’s wonderful news. She’s prepared to fail in service to progress. Her goals are that important to her.
What is so important to you that you are willing to risk failure? Please tell me in a comment below.