“I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.” – Nikki Giovanni
Last week I failed. Yesterday I failed big. Today I’m going to fail again. “Too bad”, you must be thinking. Well, don’t feel sorry for me because I’m celebrating! What this means to me is that I’m moving forward and taking risks. I’m not letting fear hold me back. I’m going for it!
I started my personal transformation business and named it “Life Under Innovation” because I want people to view life as a creative innovation, where failure is something we seek; not something we run away from. Today, I am reminded to take my own advice.
I had an interesting revelation a few weeks ago when I attended an Executive Coaching workshop. We had a homework assignment to write about a time when we experienced a huge failure; not something small, but something that had significant impact. I spent about an hour thinking and couldn’t come up with anything from the past year. Nothing felt big enough. The examples were all safe stumbles that did not require taking a risk.
The next day I felt really embarrassed when we had to share our failure with the group. I was disappointed that I hadn’t taken bigger risks. Have I been playing things too safe?
The disappointment I felt led to a simple realization: I haven’t failed enough.
My thoughts went something like this:
You haven’t failed enough = You are playing small = You’re not practicing what you preach = You have a big vision for your life = God put this vision in your heart = So what are you going to do about it? = What would you do if you weren’t afraid = Time to be bold = Time for some action.
The messages were all around me: The name of my business; the failure exercise at the workshop; even the company I work had recently introduced a shift to a culture embracing failure.
It was time for me to play. Time to jump out of the stands, suit up, and get in the action (Can you tell I’m watching football?)
So I decided to build a Failure Resume.
Instead of focusing on my accomplishments, as with a traditional resume, I am now tracking my failures and the lessons I have learned from them. And I celebrate each new addition!
I encourage each of you to do the same.
In life you will fail. Actually, you should fail because it means you are going for it. You are not letting doubt or fear hold you back. And in the words of Steve Jobs remembering that you’ll be dead soon is the most important tool to help make the big choices in life.
Feeling like you too need to fail more? Here are three questions to ask yourself :
- What would be on your failure resume?
- Would you be impressed by with the results?
- What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Cheers to failing!