27 May Failing for Happiness
I’ve referred to the work of Jon Gordon before and I do so again as he writes about “Failing Forward”.
Jon’s concept is very much like the more formal construct of resilience and we know from the positive psychology research that those who experience more happiness tend also to be more resilient. That is, happiness doesn’t just come to those who have no problems but happiness often comes to those who work through their problems…constructively, actively and successfully. Although he doesn’t specifically mention happiness I’m sure as you read Jon’s article below you’ll see the relevance. Enjoy…
Like most people I have failed more times than I care to remember. I’ve struck out playing baseball, I’ve failed to win the client, I’ve lost the big opportunity at work, I’ve had to close two of my restaurants, I lost my race for city council of Atlanta when I was 26, I was fired once, I’ve had a few girls break my heart, I was once a month away from bankruptcy, I was initially rejected by over 100 publishers, I’ve made mistakes as a parent and boss and the list goes on and on and on.
Yet, when I look back I realize that every failure has moved me forward. Every failure taught me a lesson and made me stronger, wiser and better. I failed many times but I failed forward (I first heard this term from John Maxwell). Failing to win a client taught me what not to do so I could start winning more business. Shutting-down restaurants taught me to be smarter about picking the right locations. The girls who broke my heart led me to finding my wife and losing the race for city council led to me leaving Atlanta, moving to the beach with my family and doing the work I do now. I’ve realized that sometimes we have to lose a goal to find our destiny. Sometimes we have to fail to move forward.
I know some of you might be saying, “Well that’s you Jon. You’re just lucky. It doesn’t work that way in my life. You have no idea what failure has done to me.” I hear these comments often and I always respectively disagree.
I believe there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who fail and those who fail forward. We all fail but what we do with our failures is our choice. At any moment we can stop being someone who fails and become someone who fails forward.
As the great, wise American scholar Rocky Balboa once said “It’s not how hard you hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” If that statement doesn’t sum up the life we all face I don’t know what does.
Through each challenge and failure we must stay hopeful and know that failure always leads to a better future if we have an attitude of faith, are open to the possibilities and trust that new and exciting opportunities are coming our way. We have to look at failure not as a dead end but rather as a detour to a better outcome than we could have ever imagined.
If you are experiencing a failure right now at work or home please know you are not alone. If you haven’t failed you haven’t lived. It’s time to ask what you can learn from your failure. What is it teaching you about yourself and your team? Realize it’s all a test. Then it’s time to fail forward, let the bags off the bus, step on the gas pedal, and travel light. Your destiny is waiting for you!
How will you fail forward? Join the conversation and share your thoughts at our blog.