Failure Isn’t Final
When I sat down to interview Bill Marriott at Marriott’s international headquarters, I hadn’t reckoned on him turning the tables to interview me at the end.
As you will see from our exchange, one of the things I shared with him is my belief that failure is never final but really just an opportunity to learn about what ‘doesn’t work’ so we can be smarter in succeeding at what does!
Over the years I’ve fallen short of achieving the outcomes I’ve wanted (my definition of failure) more times than I care to count. Yet every single time I’ve learned a really valuable lesson and ultimately ended up far better off than had I never risked the failure to begin with.
I hope our interview will inspire you to embrace a ‘risk-ready’ mindset that embraces failure as a necessary requirement for success.
As I wrote in last week’s blog, when we try to make perfect choices about everything, every-time, we reduce our capacity to make really smart ones when they matter most. Likewise, when you don’t give yourself permission to fall short of your ideal outcome, it stops you from daring to try and, in doing so, deprives you of valuable opportunities for discovering whole new possibilities for yourself in your work and life.
When I asked Bill Marriott if, at eighty-something and having built the world’s largest hotel chain with over 6,000 properties, whether he still worried about failing, he laughed. “Every single day,” he chuckled. Yet he said that he’d long since learned that if you let your fear of messing up keep you from starting out you’ll never learn, you’ll never grow and you’ll deprive yourself of reasons to celebrate when you do succeed!
So as you think about what you have going on right now, ask yourself, where is an experience of failure from your past keeping you from taking the risk you need to experience the success you want in the future?
Remember, failure is an event, not a person.
No outcome ever defines who you are. You define yourself and, to quote Martin Luther King Jr, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Stand tall amid your failures and challenges and you’ll discover that they hold far more valuable lessons for you than success ever can.