Lesson No. 26: The Beauty Of Failure
I didn’t purpose to be in the space that I find myself in – Founder & CEO, Passionate Entrepreneur, EQ Fanatic and OWIT Nairobi President. God plucked me from the path that I had set out for myself & set me on an alternative journey. At the start it all appeared somewhat ‘accidental’ but I know now that it was no accident, rather His design, His purpose for my life…
So now that I am here, these are my confessions…the lessons I am learning about being a woman in business, building an empire, one brick at a time…
Lesson No. 26: The Beauty Of Failure
“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement
- C S Lewis
A story is told about a farmer whose donkey fell into a well. As the stricken animal cried out to be rescued, the farmer wracked his brain, trying to figure out how to get it out. Stumped, the farmer regretfully concluded that as the donkey was old, and the well needed to be filled in anyway, he would give up the idea of rescuing the beast, and simply fill in the well. He only hoped the beast would not suffer too much
The farmer asked his neighbours help, and before long they all began to shovel earth quickly into the well. When the donkey realised what was happening he wailed even louder, but then, to everyone’s relief, the wailing stopped.
After a while the farmer looked down into the well and was astonished by what he saw. The donkey was still alive, and progressing towards the top of the well. The donkey had discovered that by shaking off the dirt instead of letting it cover him, he could keep stepping on top of the earth as the level rose. Soon the donkey was able to step up over the edge of the well, and he happily trotted off.
It’s easy to operate with a mental model that views failure as the opposite of success, viewing yourself as on a journey – someplace in the middle, doing everything possible to arrive at ‘success.’ I have learned to reconfigure that model, seeing failure as “a stepping-stone on the path to success and gratification”. In that paradigm, success is the destination. Failure is often how you get there.
One of the most famous individuals known for ‘persistence in failure’ is Thomas Edison. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. He was a prolific inventor holding 1,093 U.S. patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. At one time, prior to the successful light bulb prototype, someone asked him how he could keep going after failing so many times; he replied, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Anne Samoilov shares three simple steps to turn failure into success – Reframe, Revise & Refocus;
Take time to re-assess. Look at the situation from all angles. Ask for candid feedback. The important part of this step is to listen, take in the information, and then synthesize everything you know of your failure into a complete picture of what happened and why. Try not to react emotionally to anything you discover or that people express to you.
Remove the blinkers & be open to ideas for moving forward, wherever the inspiration comes from. Give yourself permission to let go of this failure or path completely. Be willing to step back and move away from anything that isn’t working. Einstein describes insanity as doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Once you have a new plan or at least an idea of how you want to proceed, the most crucial thing you can do to overcome feeling like a failure is to embrace your new path and focus.
I am learning that successful leaders see failure as a momentary setback as opposed to a permanent character flaw. They use it as an opportunity to take stock and forge ahead, often blazing new trails. As you have undoubtedly heard it said, success is not determined by never falling, but in rising every time you fall.
The Queen Of Hearts
| Six Seconds EQ Practitioner | Master Trainer & Facilitator |
| Award Winning International Keynote Speaker |