What Have You Failed At Today?

What Have You Failed At Today?

This is an unlikely question that you may not have asked yourself today or ever, but this is a question that could really help focus you and help you get to the next level.

This is a question that Spanx founder and billionaire businesswoman Sara Blakely’s father would ask her and her family every night over dinner when she was a child.

He didn’t ask, “What did you succeed at today?” or “What was the favorite part of your day?” Instead he asked, “What did you fail at today?”  He wanted to know in what areas they needed to grow. What were their challenges? What innovative solutions did they think of or create to tackle these problems. What did they learn from these situations in order to help them grow?

You know, failure can be the beginning of success.  Without learning from our failures, we cannot get to the next level, because we cannot learn. The best way to learn is from our mistakes.

When you look at the most successful people in the world and you look at how they got there, you’ll see failures all along the way. And usually the most successful people have had the most failures in their life and have learned from them.

Take Michael Jordan for example. How did he get to be the most successful basketball player of all times?  Well, in highschool he was not the tallest kid. In fact when he tried out for the University Junior Team while in highschool, he had the skills, he had the drive, but he wasn’t tall enough. And after tryouts, the next day he went to look at the roster of who made the team, and to his surprise, he was not on the list. Michael Jordan did not make the team the first time around. Well, that fueled his fire and he was determined to make the team. So he started showing up to school early every morning and staying late every single day to practice his skills and to ensure his dedication outweighed his height disadvantage. The next time he tried out, he was going to make the team. And he did! (From an article in behindthehustle.com)

Take Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft as another example. As the richest man in the world, Bill Gates is obviously one of the most respected and revered individuals across the globe. Despite this massive amount of success, he has also had his fair share of mistakes. One example is the company he started before Microsoft, called Traf-O-Data in the early 70s. He and his business partner Paul Allen started this company that read and analyzed data from roadway counters and created reports for traffic engineers.
Paul Allen says that this company was a good idea with a flawed business model. It hadn’t occurred to them to do any marketing research before they got it off the ground. They had no idea how hard it would be to get capital commitments from municipalities. They had to close shop in 1980 due to lack of funding. Despite their failure, the learning experience from this company played a crucial role in the information and success of their greatest achievement, Microsoft (from the Shopify Blog, “Bill Gates Biggest 7 Failure” by John Rampton).

Another example is Albert Einstein. In 1917, Einstein was working on his theory of relativity and was trying to come up with an equation that describes a static universe – one that stands still and does not collapse under the force of gravity in a big crunch. In order to keep the universe static in his theories, Einstein introduced a cosmological constant – a force that opposed the force of gravity.

Twelve years later, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is not static – it is actually expanding. So Einstein scrapped the idea of a cosmological constant and dismissed it as his biggest blunder.

However, 81 years later, in 1998, 2 teams of scientists discovered the universe is not only expanding, but it’s expansion is accelerating. It turns out that Einstein may have been correct about a cosmological constant. There had to be a force that overcomes the force of gravity and is driving the universe into an exponential acceleration. This opposing force is what scientists call “dark energy” and it is believed to constitute roughly 74% of the universe. The other constituents of the universe are “dark matter” that makes up approximately 22% of the universe and ordinary matter that makes up roughly 4% of the universe (From the Daily Galaxy, article by Rebecca Sato, Nov 29, 2007).
All of these examples show us that it is what we do with our failures and how quickly we bounce back from that can lead to our greatest successes.What is something that you failed at recently that was a big lesson for you? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Do you have a goal that you are working on that you want to work with a life coach to go after? If so, this is my specialty. Check out my Courageous Change program. It might be just the right thing for you. Send me a message if you’re interested and let’s chat.

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