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It’s Ok To Fail!

Samuel Beckett is quoted as saying: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter, Try again. Fail better!”

I left my last full time paid job exhausted, needing a break and knowing with absolute certainty that I was on the cusp of changing direction in my life. I also knew with absolute certainty that happiness and fulfillment would result from this decision. But I did not yet have the experience that I would need to negotiate some considerable turbulence in getting there.

Initially each idea I tried out appeared to “fail” and it got the doubters querying my decision to do what I was doing. But I kept to my core vision, adjusted the path, kept trying new doors, and finally the penny dropped, and in the space of a few months the business I now run became clear to me and started to unfold. Before long I was investing my time and energy seeing change in individuals and business, and witnessing profound results.

What made that happen?

I believe in no small measure it had something to do with tenacity.

Then also it was a numbers game. Simple formula…ask enough girls for a kiss and one will say yes…but we don’t because we think the pain of all those rejections will outweigh the pleasure of the kiss. Unless we take to heart the words of that Chumbawamba song: “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never going to keep me down.”

And finally failure is a great teacher if we choose to listen to the lesson. And if we choose this path, we can remove the word “failure” from our vocabulary and call it a learning. Broadly the lessons I learned were connected with adjustments I needed to make in one of 4 areas:-

  • Did I plan a clear route to achieving my goals and anticipate how to negotiate obstacles or unexpected occurrences along the way, such as the doubters?
  • Did I prepare the resources I needed to enable me to undertake my journey, such as the helpers, mentors and expert guides?
  • Were my actions in line with my goals? For example distractions have been a constant companion to me – perhaps you can relate to that!
  • Did I focus on the variables in my control? Too often we can feel helpless or blame circumstances when things don’t work out, when in fact we can often do a huge amount more than we realise by taking proper positive control over our destiny.

I’ve discovered that virtually everything I’ve learnt about so-called failure in our personal lives applies equally to our businesses and working lives.

Consider times when you have experienced what you have described as failure. How have you responded and grown from the experience? It’s OK to fail! In fact I doubt if you’ll ever truly succeed unless you’ve experienced the feeling of failure!


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