Michael Jordan once said, "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
He certainly was someo.....
He certainly was someone who could find success in failing. His x-factor was will – the will to never, ever give up.
He was cut from the high school team, yet went on to be arguably the greatest athlete that has ever lived.
He isn’t alone when it comes to great leaders and success stories born from failure.
Albert Einstein didn’t learn to speak until he was four and read until he was seven.
Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job for lacking imagination and good ideas.
The Beatles were told by a record company that they didn’t like their sound.
Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before figuring out the solution.
Would you call any of the above failures? Of course not.
While I am certainly not considered legendary in my field, I have embraced my failures as another step toward success.
In elementary school I was teased for being fat. Today, I know not to jump so quickly to judgment because many of those who teased me for my weight have their own latent insecurities.
In high school, I was told I wasn’t a good enough writer to make the student newspaper. Looks like I found a way to win that war.
In college, I was the only editor-in-chief of the student newspaper to not have an advisor because they said I was being too creative with my ideas. Look where I am today.
If you look at those experiences in detail in a half empty way, those would be considered failures. However, I used it as my fuel to continue fighting for solutions.
It’s all in the way you look at the glass.
I have come to realize that failure is nothing more than another step toward success. Far too often, we as a society, place too much blame on failure. Perhaps this is because we are unable to set realistic expectations. Perhaps, this is because the word “perfect” has been communicated to us since we were little. Regardless, failure is not bad, so long as you use it as a learning exercise.
In business, there isn’t a lot of room for mistakes and failure is not an option. Rarely do leaders allow wiggle room for mistakes and failures. I understand why – because we are on a mission to be constantly perfect.
Throughout my career as an employer, I have embraced mistakes made by my staff, so long as it is followed with a determination to get better – to continue fighting for the light bulb. You cannot train work ethic, commitment and loyalty, but you can train new methods, processes and systems to help ensure that same mistake isn’t made in the future. So long as the right attitude is accompanied by the mistake, greatest can still happen.
Next time someone tells you that you failed, or you know you made a mistake, look at it as a stepping stone to success. That half-full approach will help fuel you to finding your purpose. And don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. The same guy who told Jordan he couldn’t make the team, told Einstein he was dumb for not being able to read, told Disney he wasn’t creative, or told Nick Powills he couldn’t write, should take a good look in the mirror. By staring in that mirror, they might find compassion for the will to succeed. Then this world would promote greatness rather than demote defeat.