Failure can be a Learning Experience.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Wednesday, 4th July 2012
Success isn't automatic and it isn't a disgrace to fail, many famous people have failed in their lifetime.

In fact, failure is one of the best learning experiences that exists. So, get the notion out of your head that failure is a disgrace. What is a disgrace is for you to "Quit" because of failure. To quit trying; to give up or to go into self-pity mode or act like a martyr. Let's examine some of the reasons people fail.

Purpose: Failure isn't easy to accept; but then it shouldn't be. Let's consider some of the reasons we may fail. The very first thing that comes to my mind when considering why some people fail is pretty basic. They lack a clear purpose in what they are trying to accomplish. Add the fact that many don't document their goals and create milestones to provide measures of success along the way and failure is almost imminent.

Procrastination: Another factor is just as simple to understand; procrastination. "Procrastination is like a disease. It develops slowly, often over a long period of time." It can be like an anchor around your neck. We have to learn to deal with it if we are to become effective at whatever we choose to do. You see, procrastination is the breeding ground for incompetence.

If we don't learn to conquer it, we will maximize our effectiveness and become everything we can be. Experts have written that only twenty percent of employees reach the level of effectiveness based on individual potential. I believe that procrastination contributes to that negative statistic. Procrastination can drain your energy, affect your attitude and suppress your creativity. It can accelerate failure.

Persistence:  Most of us start out with great ambition; however, many of us run out of steam before we really succeed. Success requires that we become very persistent about reaching our objectives without being obnoxious. This means we must stay focused on our objectives while utilizing a servant style of leadership to gain the support of those around us to help us succeed.

Planning and Patience: Wolves understand that survival depends on a successful hunt. As a result they do not practice panic response management that we as leaders sometimes demonstrate in a crisis. Wolves actually develop a plan working together to insure that they capture and kill their prey. They are extremely patient and understand that success is not guaranteed and that a success rate of 100% is not realistic.

Every wolf within the pack has a specific role and they are expected to live up to their responsibility. Patience.  It isn't often included in the list of primary attributes we look for in leaders and yet to me, it is an underpinning of good leadership.  Ben Franklin once said,  "He that can have patience, can have what he will." Patience allows us to suspend judgment long enough to make considered decisions. Often, when the pressure is on, we can make snap decisions that we later come to regret.   With a little patience, we can give ourselves the benefit of stopping to consider the impact of the decisions we make and whom we might be affecting by making them. 

And besides, ill-considered decisions usually result in having to take corrective action anyway. Make no mistake ---- there is a distinct difference between Patience nad Procrastination.

Self Awareness: Every manager, every employee and every leader that has any drive at all strive to be successful.  Success starts with self-awareness. That means understanding your personal strengths and weaknesses. It also means having enough humility to work on those weaknesses.

"Never Give Up: Take Responsibility for who you were, who you are, but more importantly – who you want to become. It really doesn't matter how or why you are in the current state you are in. You must take responsibility for it. Let go of your fears. Some general once said, "No plan survives contact with the enemy."  To me that means unless you begin to execute, you will never figure out what adjustments and changes are necessary to succeed.

Remember…Success isn't a gift. It just doesn't happen. Like the Wolf --- you must learn to lick your wounds. They will heal. But if you are going to create a journey toward success, you have to plan for it. We all live 24 hours each day.

What you do with that time determines your success. Ask yourself if you really have defined your destination. Ask yourself if you have defined the map for your journey. Don't Fear Failure.

Rick Johnson, Executive Advisor, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.

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