Permission To Feel Failure
We’re going to face failure. We’re entrepreneurs after all.
And we know we can crush it because we’ve all heard the anecdotes…
If Thomas Edison had believed in failure, we would still be living in darkness. If Henry Ford had given in to failure, we would still be riding on horseback. If J.K. Rowling had listened to failure, we would never have held our breath as Harry took those first tentative steps onto platform 9 & 3/4 … (all equally important to human history, in my opinion).
Hearing these stories of great triumph is inspiring to say the least. I wholeheartedly agree that failure is a necessary part of success. But here’s the catch: these icons we look to, they likely didn’t feel triumphant at the moment they were facing failure. When Oprah got fired from her first TV anchor job, when Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, when Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team; I doubt any of them walked away saying, “this is really great, it’s exactly what I need to be successful.”
These stories hold vital lessons in grit and perseverance, but they can also lead us to believe that the only way to process failure is with positivity. The trouble is, when we find ourselves unable to immediately recognize the promise our failure holds, we’ll likely face further frustration and defeat. We must face failure, but we must also allow ourselves to process it well. Fewer rainbows and butterflies and more of the following.
Anyone who does anything great will deal with failure. That will be forever true. So next time you’re staring failure in the face, be sure to remember Thomas and Oprah and J.K. and Michael. Remember their triumph, but also remember they probably didn’t adore failing at the time and you don’t have to either.
FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that empower us to think differently and think big-picture, and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.