lesson 2: learn to love failure

imagine this...

You close the front door behind you, exhausted yet happy.
You're finally home from a long, tiring day at school and you've had a great day.
You spent some quality fun time with your friends.
You had all your favourite subjects, you completed your school work, passed a test and got a great grade on your homework.
Oh, and you got on to the school team as well as a mention in the school newsletter.
You grab a snack from the fridge, sit down at your desk and work hard to get all of your homework done before dinner.
That's a pretty good day, right?
Then you sit down at the dinner table and your dad asks how your day was.
With a smile you tell him everything that happened, but as you do, you notice that he doesn't look as impressed as you might expect.
When you've finished, he leans across and asks, "That's fantastic well done, but tell me, what did you FAIL at today?
After the day you've just had... so, you say "Nothing, I had a great day".
He sits back in his chair and looks disappointed.
He asks your brother the same question, who tells him that he failed an audition for the play.
Your dad gives him a 'high-five' and says "WELL DONE, what did your LEARN?"

what sort of crazy world is this?

Nope, you haven't stumbled upon some kind of crazy reverse parallel universe where up is down and black is white.
Although we have written an totally imagined conversation (above), this was the real world that Spanx creator (and self-made billionaire) Sara Blakely experienced when she was growing up.

sara blakely

We like Blakely's story not because of the money she made, but because of the way that she learned to think about failure.
There are lots of other reasons why she became successful, and she obviously used other strengths, CREATIVITY, PERSEVERANCE and ZEST etc...
However, her dad helped her see failure in a totally different way to the way that most people see it.
  • something to be celebrated
  • something desirable
  • something to learn from
FAILING meant that Sara and her brother were going outside of their comfort zones, it meant that they were growing.
And as she has said, that way of thinking about FAILURE was the key to her success.

failure is desirable

Failure is not a destination in and of itself.
It's just a temporary stop on your ultimate journey towards success.
This is what's called having a GROWTH MINDSET.

good failure vs bad failure

Let's clarify something.
It's good to fail, as long as you LEARN from your failure.
That's another thing that Sara Blakey's dad made sure of; that she learned from the mistakes that she made.

how can you do this?

The great news is... you already know how to take a failure and learn from it.
Remember your:

STOP 123

Well, if you have been practising that, you already have the framework for dealing with failure.
  • EVERY failure experience has a POSITIVE element.
  • EVERY failure experience is one you can LEARN something from.
  • And, you can ALWAYS come up with solutions to get a better result next time (thanks CREATIVITY).

one final important thing

It's absolutely vital that you separate YOU from the failure.
YOU aren't the failure.
Maybe it was your attitude, the strategy you used, or your work ethic that was the reason why it didn't work this time.
And yes, these are your responsibility, which means that you have the power change them.
But FAILING does not say anything about YOU as a person, it simply means that you just need to try something else, you need to find another way.

a quick test

Let's just see how well you have understood FAILURE shall we?

lesson complete

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