Why You Should Be Thankful for Your Failures
This Thursday you’ll be giving thanks for many things – a healthy family, the food on your table, loving relationships with your family and friends, a successful business, and, of course, your failures. Wait, say what? Who is grateful for failing? Well, it turns out the most successful people among us are thankful for failure. You see, it’s your failures that teach you lessons you’ll need to eventually succeed in business.
Be thankful: Count your blessings… and your failures
Counting your blessings can be easy. If you were tasked with making a list of ten things you’re thankful about right this second, you could probably rattle off 20. You may even take a second to think about your blessings, reminiscing for a minute with a smile on your face.
Failures are painful to recall and even more painful to think about. It can bring up a whole host of emotions including shame, frustration, anger, embarrassment, disappointment. Who wants to think about that? Who chooses to think about that?
“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John Maxwell
Learn the lesson
The most successful people perceive and respond to failure much differently from everyone else. Instead of getting down on themselves, they assess what went wrong. Instead of coming up with excuses that blame everyone else instead of taking accountability, they find things they could’ve done differently. Instead of taking failure as a sign they shouldn’t do something, they find the lessons they need to learn and apply them to their plan going forward.
When they experience failure, or a situation doesn’t go as planned, they may feel disappointed and frustrated. They may feel sorry for themselves for a time. BUT, they don’t dwell on these feelings. They don’t knit them into a blanket to carry on their shoulders – a burden to carry and use as an excuse to quit. Sure, they may take failure personally for a time, but then they get perspective, dust themselves off, and try again. In time, they’re even thankful that it happened.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Failure isn’t personal. So many of us take it as a personal affront when we fail. Perhaps we feel ashamed or embarrassed that we failed. After all, what will people think of us when they find out? Or we feel frustrated and angry. Perhaps we followed the playbook of someone who had succeeded and we’re super annoyed that it didn’t work for us, too. These are all normal feelings. However, the biggest challenge is to acknowledge them and then move on.
Perspective is everything. Thomas Edison was a prolific inventor, but not every idea he had was a patentable winner. He failed… a lot. And, the ideas that were winners went through round after round of refinement before reaching a final design. Each time he failed, he improved the design further. He was likely thankful that each failure provided him the opportunity to improve his design even more.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” – Henry Ford
Look for opportunity
Failure gives you the freedom to try again. It gives you an excuse to perfect your plan or try something new that you never would have thought of before. Think about it: What do you learn from winning? Sure, you learned that what you did works – great. But what else? Were you further tested? Did you figure out a way to do it that would be more effective or efficient?
The truth is that while winning feels great, we don’t learn much from it. If you’re that rare person that always wins, what happens when you experience a setback or failure, especially for the first time? More than likely, you’ll give up. First, you’ll wonder why you didn’t win, then you may be bitter and angry that you didn’t win. Then, you’ll stew in anger until it becomes resentment. Before long you’re seriously thinking of giving up.
When you embrace failures, setbacks, etc. you become more resilient; you don’t see it as a negative situation. You may be irritated, of course, but then you see it as a chance to start again from a different angle. Perhaps you seek out feedback this time around so you can figure out what went wrong and revise your approach. In the end, failure makes things better than they would have been otherwise, but only if the person learns from it and uses it as a chance to start again.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
And it does take courage. Especially if you feel shame or embarrassment from failing in the first place. In fact, some people may even tell you you should just give up. They may say, “What are you doing that for?” The thing is, most people will quit. As soon as they face any adversity they throw in the towel. They may take it as a sign they should do something else or that they’re just not cut out for it. Very few people keep going.
When you experience a setback, summon the courage from the deepest parts of your soul to keep going. Take baby steps until you build momentum. It doesn’t matter how small you start – an extra message here, a follow up there – until you’re courageous enough to move forward.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
It’s all part of the process
Failure is part – a very important part – of success. It tests your process and provides the valuable feedback you need to refine the process or start again. Failure can improve your skills and also strengthen your business as well. You’ll build the resilience to weather challenges in your business and understand they’re just part of the process.
When you see failure as just another part of business, you’re less likely to be thrown off when you experience it. Of course, you may feel some disappointment, but you’re much less likely to become paralyzed by it. Since you’ve expected it all along, you can roll with it more easily. Instead of freaking out, you can say, “Okay, I expected this. How can I use the situation to improve my business and my approach to business?” Then you move on, more intelligently this time around since you’re armed with so much new knowledge and experience.
“I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.” – Oprah Winfrey
Savor the moment
You’ve heard that the journey is more important than the destination. Think of your business as a journey you’re embarking on – a journey to success. Everything you learn and experience along the way is so vital to your growth as a business owner. How can it be a total failure if something doesn’t go your way one time?
The point is to enjoy the process more so than the outcomes. Sure, it’s fantastic to win and succeed. It’s euphoric! But what about the process of getting there? No doubt you met some great new people and built on your established relationships. You tested your abilities and strengthened your skills. You probably even gained brand new skills as well. What’s better than that? It’s all part of the process, as is falling short of set expectations. Throughout you learn to continue to persevere, no matter what.
So, while you’re expressing thanks for your family, your health, your business, and everything you have, remember to express gratitude for failures as well, because, without them, it’s difficult to grow.
We’re thankful for you!
At Teamzy, we’re thankful for you – your successes mean the world to us. Thank you for your continued support!