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Chris LoCurto

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April 14, 2014

It’s Ok To Fail!

April 14, 2014 | By | 23 Comments">23 Comments

Failure is inevitable! You’re going to fail! And the great thing is, it’s absostinkinlutely ok!

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In Next-Level Life, StratPlan, and coaching, the fear of failure is one of the biggest issues I face with so many clients. Whether it’s a team member or a leader, a large portion of our population is afraid of failing.

It’s not good enough for me to say it’s ok to fail, because those who are afraid have been taught that it’s NOT ok. They’ve been taught by parents, teachers or leaders that failure is unacceptable and in many situations, punishable.

In StrengthsFinder 2.0, author Tom Rath talks about how most parents, when seeing their child’s report card of all A’s and one D, would totally focus on the D. Why? Because we aren’t failures here in the United States. Even if it’s not the child’s strong suit.

In other words, if their child was an incredibly talented artist but was struggling in english, instead of pushing toward their talent, they would focus more on the weakness.

That is beyond ridiculous! Failure is one of the greatest teachers. Without it, we have to trust that we know everything to be successful in every situation. The truth is, we don’t!

“But Chris, artists struggle! Where would my child get a job as an artist to support their family?” Uhhhhh…as one of the incredibly well paid graphic artists that so many businesses are in need of?!

When I see leaders who carry the same broken belief system of no failure, I usually find it’s because they have been held to the same impossible standard by someone in their past as well.

Here are some thoughts from some highly successful folks, who’ve had a great number of failures:

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. ~ C. S. Lewis

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. ~ Michael Jordan

Those who live life in fear of failure spend life failing to live. ~ Chris LoCurto

Ok, I had to throw that last one in there. The sooner you embrace the reality that you will not leave this life without many failures, the sooner you can embrace the lessons that go with the failures.

Question: What lessons have you learned from failing? 

  • Love it! Thanks Chris. This post is such a good reminder that failure is normal. It’s a great encouragement to this blogger who is failing, succeeding, failing, failing, can’t-decide-if-that-post-was-as success-or-failure, failing, succeeding & failing again :) Blogging, writing & growing a business is quite the roller-coaster of a journey. Thank you for the encouragement along the way!

  • It’s always good to be reminded that it’s OK to fail… =)

    http://www.itsokto.fail

  • Joyce Marrero

    1. You learn how to shake things off and to get back up stronger!
    2. You learn perseverance

  • John Alkire

    I like to say it different – “if you aren’t learning, you are not living.”

    • Love it, John! Some great moments in my life were when I was learning!

  • I love the MJ quote. So true. And one thing i’d add is this–you’ll NEVER FAIL if you just talk about action all the time but never really take action. There is a big difference between the two. One is work and one just FEELS like work.

  • Noel

    I’ve had multiple failures is my life and some were really hard to bounce back from but here I am, still standing and fighting. Failure is part of success whether we like it or not. Part of reaching success is learning from our failures.

  • Solid post, Chris! There is a clear difference between temporary failures (setbacks really) and total failure. The latter only happens if we ourselves fail to learn from the experience or allow a ‘failure’ to block progress towards our goals permanently. I would be far less valuable to the entrepreneurs I work with today if I had not myself experienced a failed startup AND learned from the experience. It was painful at the time, but I look back on those years as my most valuable years professionally.

  • I failed when trying to start my business. It seemed like it would be easy to startup and run a computer repair business. After all, I knew about computers. Yet it wasn’t that easy.

    I learned that there’s more to business than knowing how to do something well. Running a business requires a different kind of mindset and work ethic.

    • It totally does, and yet so many people would look at that first failure as and end to the process. But it should lead people into discovering what they missed the first time.

      Thanks Joseph!

  • We are taught from a young age that we can’t fail. What would happen if we changed that belief? Failing gives you a mark to improve from. Thanks for the reminder to change how we perceive that.

  • What I’ve learned from failing, how to do that thing better. Or there is another answer for it. For record, I love Tom Rath’s Strengths finder 2.0. That really helped me to understand my strengths with our team.

    • I do love how knowing the strengths of your team keeps you from leaving them in an area where they aren’t strong.

  • James Roberson

    One of the biggest things that got in my way early in my work life was PRIDE! I couldn’t be a failure, I was too good for that. Yes, I was incredibly wrong. The ironic part- it was that very pride that lead to some of my failures. Had I taken the time to analyze the situation instead of just “knowing” how great I was, I could of made adjustments and not failed. Luckily those failures taught me some valuable lessons. I can look back now and see the moments and actions that I should have done differently. I use those times as a learning point and keep myself moving forward. Letting go of ME has been one of the greatest aspects to my growing success. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer everyday.

    • It’s so crazy how correctly seeing failure can even adjust our own image of ourselves! Great stuff James!

  • Carla MusarraLeonard

    Chris, do you have a secret passageway into my thoughts? It seems like so many of your posts are speaking directly to me.

    Not only have I had failures, but I’ve had several roadblocks. I am currently facing a big roadblock right now. I’ve been trying to get around, over and through this roadblock now for about 5 months!

    Regarding the failures, here’s what I learned from those.
    1. Even though I thought I was doing something the right way, I learned that there was a better way to do it.
    2. Having my first patent rejected twice, I had to go back and redesign my product. My redesign was an improvement in every possible way. I would not have that if my patent got accepted the first time.
    3. I now know 43 ways not to engineer my product.

    Most importantly, I learned that I need to keep going. My “race” hasn’t even officially started yet, and I know it’s going to get a lot harder, so what I do now and how I respond to failure now, matters.

    My failures and responses to them don’t just affect me, they affect those people who I’ve been called to bless.

    Thanks for this post and encouragement Chris!

    • HAHAHA!!! Yes I do have a secret passageway. :) And you’re so right, you learned 43 ways that got you closer to doing it right.

  • I think that there are two basic sides to the failure coin:
    1. You learn what to do
    2. You learn what not to do

    I had a client last year that had several of the 2nd lessons (what not to do). One of those is that I don’t want to work with that industry, although I would do much better now than I did then.

    • That is one of the greatest benefits Josh! People are so concerned that it brands them instead of teaches them.