The secret to success is found in failures.
I built a long list of accomplishments over the years. The secret? An even longer list of failures. My discovery: the secret to success is found in failures.
My list of failures is so long I can list them both alphabetically and chronologically. And that is simply the secret to success.
Honestly, I’m not really good at succeeding. But I’m great at failing. And it just so happens success is a fabulous and accidental by-product of failure.
Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before he invented the light bulb. History is crowded with amazing talents — from Henry Ford to Michael Jordan — who failed miserably before skyrocketing to success.
It’s difficult to talk about failure because it exposes our vulnerabilities. How ironic that we feel shame about the very thing that leads to our success. Often times, our society rewards success and belittles failure.
One of my favorite success stories, James Altucher, candidly writes about his long list of failures. We should all be so vulnerable. Our stories connect us. You admitting failure gives me permission to do the same.
I often tell my son, who wants to be a computer scientist when he grows up, that the secret to success does not necessarily include a college degree. In fact, I tell him that he does not need to graduate from college. He needs to dropout after his first year because that’s what the really successful guys did (Gates, Zuckerberg, Dell, Jobs). Seems those guys know a thing or two about the secret to success.
Sometimes failure is helpful because it means you took a risk and put yourself out there. Failure can indicate you stretched yourself a little too far. Maybe inherent to failure is the willingness to take risks. Taking risks leads to all kinds of opportunities. Opportunities lead to success.
Sometimes failure is helpful because it means you hated what you were doing so much that you purposely sucked at it. That’s ok. Because you learned what you don’t like. Which hopefully led to something you like.
Sometimes you feel like a failure even though maybe you aren’t. I often felt like a huge failure when I was working on my masters degree, holding down a demanding full-time job, and raising my one-year old son. I continuously felt like I was either failing my boss, my family, or my professors.
I’m currently in the process of writing my first book. (Yay!) It is something my soul has wanted to do since as far back as I can remember. I battle my doubts, fears, and insecurities at every step. Sometimes I fail, the demons win, and I don’t touch the keyboard for days.
Failing is just part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Know success is right around the corner. The trick is persistence. Get back on the horse.
I work hard at trusting and having faith in God. Believing there is reason for everything. Trusting this is my purpose, my calling, and the work God intends for me to do. I remind myself to “let go and let God.” Which I fail at a lot.
Have you ever failed at anything? I’d love to hear your story!