The Power of Rethinking “Failure”

If you are a leader in business or an organization, take a new look at what you might have always perceived as failure. What if you could learn why you should look forward to failure, and how it can help you ultimately get where you want to go? For instance, when you read this statement, what’s your reaction?

“There is no such thing as failure.”  

Do you think it’s true? Maybe it makes sense to others but not to you. But what if you learned that you have the power to decide whether or not something is indeed, a “failure” or not, changing your whole idea about failure?  In fact, some highly successful people have already learned to look at the word failure in a very different way than others.  Let’s talk about why.

Why Others Watch a Leader Handle Failure 

Doing something that seems to be a failure shows the fact that you are only human. People watch how a person of stature handles a mistake and how that person recovers from it. Watching isn’t to be cruel, but it gives others hope that they too could recover from a mistake. 

Mistake making takes on a whole new form when a person sees how a leader faces and overcomes a problem. Everyone can have a failure or a setback but not everyone knows what to do about it. Making a successful comeback after a failure can increase your reputation, build confidence and show you as a person of integrity. The comeback doesn’t even have to be huge or earth shaking. It just has to happen. 

When “Failure” is Feedback 

What if starting today, the idea of failure took a radical change in your vocabulary? What if failure really meant a form of success? How could you acknowledge your success, even as you speak the word “failure”? Well, you can point out these ideas:  

  • That everything you learned in the process of getting to where you are now is not going to get thrown out — you learned good things to keep along with the stuff that didn’t work.
  • That simply being able to recognize everything hasn’t gone according to plan, or achieved the desired outcome (i.e. “failed”), is in itself a positive outcome
  • That even if the specific method you used this time around wasn’t the right one for this situation, you can surely use bits and pieces and parts from what you learned in another project or idea.
  • That you can eliminate and not repeat the same behaviors the next time a similar situation arises. Failing to achieve a goal in one way just increases your creative understanding of what works for a situation, project, or idea or what doesn’t.
  • That you’ll know to do things differently in the future. You will create in a new way to approach a problem and your creating will be quicker and more confident as a result of knowing what not to do? 
  • That the experience has enabled you to grow in some way. Adversities, set backs, failures, hard times — all of these things only make you a stronger and more confident person. 

Failure can simply be a great way to get you to pause in the midst of your process, and get some critical information to indicate that you may need to change directions, try something new, continue your learning, or shift your focus. 

Imagine what would happen if you didn’t get that feedback, and continued endlessly along the wrong path, towards the wrong goal, or without ever learning a new approach? It not a pretty thought. Therefore, make time to rethink the idea of failure. Failure can really be seen as positive feedback, providing information that gets you back on the right track! Without feedback you would surely be lost. The key is to quickly identify what isn’t working so you can change direction, try something new, or shift your focus. 

How would thinking of failure as a welcome invitation to understanding a better way to pursue you life dream change your thinking? Here are some tips: 

  • Always have a clear idea of where you want to go and continue to re-evaluate it as you move forward
  • Identify specific milestones or markers along the way, to let you know you’re on the right track and celebrate each success
  • If something doesn’t appear to be working, or working fast enough, don’t hesitate to try something new
  • Continually learn from others. These can be people you work with, experts in your field, mentors, or leaders that have travelled a similar road.

Remember, no one has to stay in the same place in life. If things are not working in the direction you are headed, stop and go another way. If you tried something one way, make a change in your activity until you find out what really works. Life is a series of starts and stops. Just think of how much experience you have in different areas of life when you try something and learn new things from that experience.

Keep trying new things; never plan to stop learning, trying, experimenting, and creating. This gives a leader the confidence needed to succeed. Consider the idea of rethinking failure as a way to reach success and strengthen your leadership skills instead of a way to set you back. You will take more risks, try more challenges and increase your overall successes.

Start Living Fully Today

Tomorrow never comes; once tomorrow gets here it’s today. Waiting for tomorrow to do what you should have started long ago is only going to keep you from ever succeeding.

It’s so easy to get into the habit of saying “Wait” or “I’ll do that later” instead of taking up the mantel of responsibility and just getting on with living life fully today. This isn’t saying you have to ignore the facts:

  • Yes, the timing must be right to pursue your dreams.
  • Yes, you have to get the right obligations out of the way, like taking care of family, children, elderly parents, if that’s what you are supposed to do.
  • Yes, you may have to finish the fight on the hard challenge that have come your way.

But once those have gone and you know the time is now, you have to get started on living the true purpose of your life.

  • Do you ever wonder why certain people have a yearning in the heart to do something big?
  • Do you think this is a universal yearning or do you think some people are content to be where they are in life?

It seems that for some the yearning is stronger or more real than others. I believe everyone is born with a purpose to fulfill in life that will leave the world a better place as a result. That task may be small or only touch one single life. But touching that life will cause a ripple effect that will reach out to places unknown.

I also believe that some people refuse to do what is on their heart. Knowing that there is a great thing to do, they refuse to answer that life calling and ignore it until life is over for them.

  • You know in your heart that you are supposed to be doing more.
  • You know you are supposed to be doing greater things.

I believe a life purpose is set in the heart of every person at birth. When you refuse to heed the persistence of that life calling, you live a life unfulfilled.

  • Are you denying the call of your life purpose?
  • Are you letting the past, or your fears, or unforgiveness, or confusion keep you from identifying what is great about you so you can start sharing it with the world?

I’ve been in settings where the most unlikely person got up and made a presentation that changed the direction of everyone in the room. Through very simple words or a brief exercise or by sharing a piece of art or playing a simple arpeggio, lives were changed.

What are you supposed to be doing with your life? When will you start doing it?

Organize and Write Your Book Tonight

Professional women, are you ready to write a book about your business or leadership experiences? Maybe you want to write a book to promote your special cause or non-profit organization? Maybe you want to record your professional memoirs? No matter the reason, writing your book will not be difficult once you get your thoughts organized and ready to put on paper. Follow these 7 simple steps and get your professional book going quickly.

1. List Your Thoughts
Are your ideas all over the place? Does your mind feel jumbled with everything you want to write? Slow it down by writing out lists of ideas you have on book topics. Once you write the list, go through and categorize them into topic areas. For instance, say you want to write about when you traveled through Europe with a backpack and became a travel agent? Maybe you’re ready to share lessons about your participation in protests or voting events in the 60’s and how it led to your political career? Perhaps you want to write about a hobby such as gardening or golf? Just go ahead and put the topics your interested in into categories.

2. Add to the Categories
Add additional information to each category. You might have a long list by now. Of all the topics you have, select the one that excites you the most or that you feel you have the most material on and focus on that one to start. Put all of the information for that topic on a separate paper so you can concentrate on that for your eBook.

3. Select the Chapter Headings
Out of the information in each of the lists you created, select a topic that will serve as a chapter heading. Take the strongest and most focused statement to serve as chapter heading. This will help you focus your chapters. Put everything you listed about that that topic into logical sections or an outline to form the chapters of your book.

4. Organize Chapters
Be sure the topics you listed underneath each chapter heading make senses to go with that topic. You can adjust this list later as needed. Put the information in logical order as you would find in a table of contents in a book. Pull out one of your favorite books to serve as a model or guide.

5. Fill in Chapter Material
Start to write subtopics in each section. Write as much as you know without having to think too hard. When you have exhausted what you already know, you might already have enough for a book. If not, research additional information or ideas to add. Go online and pull up the years you are talking about. Look for historical information from that time period to trigger more memoirs. Put in some more facts and information.

6. Keep It Focused
Your Book does not have to be lengthy. Some books by professional authors and leaders are only 50 to 75 pages. That is not very much writing. In fact, with 40 pages of writing, a front cover, table of contents, dedication page and disclaimer and copyright page and you have your 50 page Book ready to go.

7. Write the Introduction and Summary
Introduce the topic of each chapter with a two to three sentence introduction and write a summary for each chapter of the same length. Be sure the introduction provides teaser information that makes readers desire to keep reading. The summary should not introduce new materials but summarize the primary focus of the chapter.

Professional women with years of business and leadership experience have some of the most exciting first-hand experiences to share with others. Forget the excuses about not being able to write your book. As you put these ideas into place you will see how simple it is to get an book written in a very short period of time. You just have to get started to make it a reality.

Unconscious Goals Could Be Ruining Your Success

If you’re serious about making positive changes in your life, learn about the concept of unconscious goal setting.  The idea is not complex. It is simply that if you don’t set and work towards conscious goals you’re working towards meeting your unconscious goals.   

Unconscious goals are undefined with no specific direction.  Here are reasons why goals must move from unconscious to conscious to bring success to your life.

1. Unconscious goals are not specific. Everything you do in life is a forward motion. That is it takes you from where you are currently to another place.  If you don’t set specific goals for that movement you won’t have control over the outcome of that forward movement.  You’ll go somewhere but without consciously setting where you want to go; however, you’ll still get somewhere. 

2. Unconscious thoughts blame outside forces. Many people go through life just taking things as they come along.  If the day goes well, it’s one for joy.  If the day goes bad, it’s normally attributed to an external source such as  “bad luck” or to the activities of others people such as those that “don’t like you.” When you leave yourself open to whatever comes it’s a conscious unconscious decision.  No one is to blame except you as the opportunity to take control of your thoughts is your own.

3. Unconscious thoughts control the day. The brain doesn’t turn off simply because you haven’t consciously used it during your day.  Thoughts continue to take place. In fact, you’re thinking at all times about something.  Like other muscles of the body, a brain that doesn’t get exercised gets flabby.  Flabby brain, flabby thoughts.  Flabby thoughts don’t have the muscle tone for a firm foundation. That means your thoughts and ideas can be shifted and turned at the whim of outside forces or the attitudes of those that surround you.

4. Unconscious goals have no pattern.  Because you haven’t stopped to think specifically about what you want to do and how you intend to achieve, your life tends to go up and down with no pattern.  Because you don’t’ know what you want to achieve each day, anything you do is good enough.  Sometimes, you might have to stop to think if you got anything of importance done for the day since you didn’t plan to achieve anything.

5. Unconscious goals are vague. Goals you’re not conscious of are vague.  When you think in vague terms about what you want such as that you’d prefer to live a better life or have more money for instance, but without setting a specific goal your mind can’t create the ideas needed to guide you toward your goals.  Instead, “more money” can be a few pennies more than what you had yesterday.  A better life might mean getting through one more green light driving home than you got driving to work in the morning. Vague has no substance on which to build success.  

6. Unconscious goals waste time.  Having no pattern to your achievements or not knowing where you want to go or why creates the consistent frustration of having a starting and stopping motion in life. First you want where you’re going then you change your mind.  It’s like trying something on then deciding to change your clothes three times before being able to walk out of the house.  You don’t know exactly why you take specific actions so nothing seems to work.  This starting and stopping wastes time and lets you feel you’re taking two steps forward and five steps back with every action.

7. Unconscious goals are costly.  What are your income goals.  Unconscious goals will say “I want to be wealthy” or “ we really need to bring in some money today.”  These type of goals cost you the possibilities of actually reaching income goals. What is wealthy in your definition?  Unless you are specific about this, wealthy might be having an extra $20.00 bill in your pocket.  Now you are wealthy because you have that much more money.  Bringing in more money today could result in getting one sale but if it is the first and only sale for the month, you’ve reached your unconscious goals but could still face bankruptcy in another two months or less.  There is no reason for the mind to create ways to bring in more funds since you haven’t determined what you really need.

Hopefully these examples illustrate the power of unconscious goals for the detriment of your success.  It also gives you reasons to take the time to think through your goals and create goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time oriented.