Bracing ourselves for failure is a self-defeating mindset. But so many of us do it, spending too much time and energy worrying about:
- Coming up short
- Making a fool of ourselves
- Disappointing the expectations of others
- Losing ground
We let fear of failure tie us in knots, imprison our initiative, and confine us to whatever seems safe.
To prepare ourselves for success, and lots of it, means looking at failure as a stepping-stone not a millstone.
Opportunities for failure exist whether you go after something small or big. So you may as well shoot for the stars and see what happens. The more obstacles you tackle, the greater your chances of achieving something significant.
The key is to keep trying. It may sound hackneyed, but it’s true. When you get knocked down:
- Get up and try again.
- Learn something from the experience.
- Try a new approach.
- Seek help and advice
A lot of colossal success happened last weekend.
The colossal failure of pro golfer, Kyle Stanley, who blew his 3-stroke lead in the Farmer’s Insurance Open the Sunday before Super Bowl XLVI made a 360 one week later.
As Steve DiMeglio of USA Today writes,:
Stanley stormed back from an eight-shot deficit Sunday with a sterling, bogey-free 6-under-par 65 to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.
Tom Goldman from NPR adds:
What will resonate most for the spindly 24-year-old is that Feb. 5 was his day of redemption. And really, in sport, or in life, who doesn’t cherish a moment when they can say “I am somebody” after feeling the extreme opposite?
Then John Nicholson of the Huffington Post quotes Stanley:
I’m never going to forget that. I think it makes this one a lot sweeter, just being able to bounce back. I’m kind of at a loss for words. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve gotten. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable turnaround.
Then there was the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl when at one point in the season their chances of getting into the big game seemed unlikely. The players, some with rings and many without, kept believing, setting their sights high.
Steve Edelson of the Times Union quotes Coach Tom Coughlin:
Mental toughness, resiliency, resolve. We keep playing, we keep fighting, and we’re highly competitive. We do have great trust in each other, great belief that we can finish, and that if we keep playing one play at a time as hard as we can go that we will find a way to win.
Edelson calls this season, “Coughlin’s greatest coaching job ever…,” adding, “It’s why he was so emotional in his address to his players Saturday night, telling them he loved them.”
He quotes the notably hard-nosed coach as saying,
I’m trying to think if I’ve ever said that before…this is a very special team, and I think it was appropriate and this point and time to let them know how I felt about them. So they didn’t have any question…that I deeply appreciated what they accomplished, where they’ve come from, the fact that they’ve done it together. I wanted them to know it. I told them, I’m man enough to tell you, “I love you.”
What it all means
To achieve big, you have to:
- want success so much that you’ll fight through the negative pull of failure
- deny failure a permanent place in your thinking
- ask for and draw on the support of others
- believe that eventually success, yes, colossal success, will be yours
- keep getting better at what you do
- be grateful for what you have achieved and for those who have helped
All great athletes visualize the outcomes they want on their field of play and see themselves holding that coveted trophy.
You need to visualize your own success, however you define it and see it. Your day will come, so please commit to seeing it today.
Photo from maxbee via Flickr