Failing: The Best Stepping Stone To Success
Failing is inevitable in the pursuit of something grand! We don’t like failing, yet the process of achieving something significant requires you to stretch, experiment, and venture into the unknown – all of which make you vulnerable to failing.
The more you resist failing, the more succeeding becomes illusive.
Kids don’t think twice about attempting something new. Thank heavens! If they did, they would never progress in life the way they were meant to. My oldest grandson, who is about to turn eight, is a great example! Wow! That boggles my mind, because I vividly remember when that chunky little fellow was racing about on his hands and knees! In fact, I still remember him learning to walk! There’s one moment in particular that comes to mind where one tiny guy in diapers sporting a big belly and chubby cheeks showed the entire family something incredibly valuable!
Learn From “Littles”
When my grandson was 18 months old, the whole family gathered at a state park to celebrate some birthdays together – something we love doing. He was beyond tickled to be outside and had no trouble keeping himself busy. He chased a ball, drove his cars all over, found the many leaves scattered on the ground fascinating, and was in awe of the numerous motorcycles that zoomed by. I am certain that after all the running around, he fell asleep in the car before they ever left the state park!
The picnic shelter that served as our home for the day was built on a cement slab. The drop off around the edge varied significantly. In some spots, it was level with the ground, while in others the drop off was closer to a foot. My grandson, still a little unsteady on his feet at times, attempted to step off the slab and onto the dirt in a spot where the drop off was about 4 inches. It didn’t go well! He did a major face plant that resulted in many tears!
What really struck me is that after the brief cry, he brushed off his big belly, climbed back up onto the slab, peered over the edge and carefully attempted the very same step that previously resulted in the face plant. This time he was more cautious, took it more slowly, and guess what – he did it successfully!
I wish that I’d videotaped not only his fall, but also his victory step because afterwards he walked back and forth with some serious swag that was comical! He was abundantly pleased with himself.
So, what does my adorable grandson’s moment at the park have to do with success? Everything! There are some valuable lessons to be learned from his example.
1. Keep Taking Risks
It’s nearly impossible to achieve success without taking risks. It’s just a part of the process.
Stepping off a slab onto uneven ground when you are new to walking – that’s risky! My grandson was literally stepping off into the unknown, but he didn’t let that stop him. While that step would have been easy for you and I, we encounter all sorts of risky “big steps” in our path every day. The question is, how willing are we to risk, fail, and get back up again? Trying and failing is the way kiddos learn! And while we don’t like to admit it – as adults we learn that way too!
Are you willing to take the risks necessary to succeed – whatever that looks like for you? It’s going to mean being uncomfortable, attempting new things, and coming to terms with uncertainty. And like my grandson, some of those risk my cause you to end up flat on your face at times.
2. Never Stop Learning
Stepping off the slab the first time resulted in a scary face plant that left my grandson with a few bumps, scratches, tears, and a banged-up ego.
He could have moved on to another activity or even returned to the comfort of mom’s lap. Instead, he chose to immediately attempt the step again. He applied what he learned from his first try and successfully navigated the step the second go around.
When you fail, how do you respond? Do you let the sting of failure keep you from trying again? Or do you learn and keep at until you figure it out?
Failure is a fabulous teacher. It has a way of revealing your mindsets and beliefs. It also exposes what’s truly important to you like wanting to save face! There’s a lesson in every failure!
3. Persistence Wins!
Successful people are persistent people! They don’t keep repeating the same mistake, they learn and adjust what they are doing or how they are doing it until they find what works. Are you that kind of person?
Perhaps you’ve experienced a big flop or you’ve experienced a royal failure. As a result, you’ve given up or redirected your efforts into safer adventures. Trust me, we’ve ALL been there! We’ve all experienced failure and nobody likes to fail!
The problem is, you won’t get the results you need to succeed if you quit. You won’t succeed by playing it safe. And succeeding rarely happens overnight. It takes time – sometimes a long time with much persistence. Keep at it even when it seems like a waste of time!
4. Resilience Matters
In the pursuit of something grand, adversity, challenges, difficulties, and failure are guaranteed. The more resilient you are, the quicker you recover. The less resilient you are, the longer it takes for you to bounce back…if you bounce back…at all!
I’m convinced that your mindset and outlook are huge factors in how resilient you are – how quickly you are able to regroup. Simple habits like extending grace to yourself and others, practicing gratitude, and having confidence in God – His love and ability to care for you, also make a real difference.
My grandson immediately picked himself up and tried again. That’s resilience!
How are you coping with the perceived obstacles and setbacks you face? Each one is an opportunity to practice using your bounce back muscle!
My grandson wasn’t strutting like a proud peacock after his successful step because we all thought he was amazing – even though we did. He was strutting because he was darn pleased with his ability to navigate that wonky step on his own! He had no idea that we’d all been watching.
How do you celebrate your accomplishments? Do your successes only count if others notice and validate them? Or if they are big enough? Remember the little success count too! They add up to big accomplishments! Celebrate them!
6. Mind Your Mind
When failing, how do you interpret those moments? Have any of these thoughts run through your mind? I am…
- Incompetent – I won’t be successful
- In need more experience before I can be successful
- Unworthy of success
- An impostor – if people only knew!
- Lacking the smarts to be successful
- Not important – I don’t matter – no one cares
- Too lazy to be successful
- A loser
- Ordinary – there’s nothing special about me
- Incapable of success – that’s for everyone else – not me!
It’s tough to be successful when the voice in your head is telling you otherwise!
By the way, success isn’t always about making a million dollars! Sometimes success is taking that step off the slab and into the dirt that you weren’t able to do before!
There isn’t a single successful person who has not experienced his or her share of failures. That ought to spark a serious sense of relief and motivate you to take bolder and braver steps in your journey!
God has something significant for you to do, something that will make a big difference in the lives of others. No doubt, it’s going to be an adventure full of twists, turns, and a few failures. And you will need God every step of the way!
The best stepping stone to success: failure. Don’t let it slow you down!
When it comes to your goals or pursuits, what lessons have you learned?