Why I Don’t Believe In Failure
Shannon and TK crossing the finishing line

Failure is such a weird concept. I know on the surface it seems simple and we throw around Instagrammable phrases stating how:

YOU MUST FAIL TO LEARN

FAILURE ISN’T FATAL

Our lives are made up of choices that mold our existence. Some choices are big like 

– should we sell our house and live the RV life for a couple years (this is the question The Russian presented to me a couple of days ago. Of course we should, I said. We shall see what happens there)

or small choices like hitting your alarm for the 3rd time and sleeping in a little.

 
This is the inside of an RV I looked at recently. I did not know they had kitchen islands. I could live here for a year.

…and while I agree with those concepts on the level that they are trying to promote perseverance in task – I still have a problem with failure as a whole.

So, what if we decide to sell our home and live the RV life and what if after 2 years – or even 6 months – and we hate it and quit. Is that a failure? 

Of course not because within those years or months of traveling we undoubtably met new people and traveled to cool places. 

But what if we loved it, was it a success? I want to say yes because success feels good, but can you have success without failure? Can you have good without evil? Yes, I know I am diving deep in to the metaphysical argument about the structure of reality but that is not my intention, so let’s back it up so I can get to the point. 

Each experience is a point on the learning journey. We are born and we die and if we live making intentional choices our learning journey will be more robust, more exciting, more successful.

During your entrepreneurial journey you will encounter setbacks that will take you down a different road than you mapped out. This road may be bumpier, but as with everything in life those setbacks will lead you to another road that may be surprisingly smooth. If you can take failure out of your vocabulary and understand that enjoying the process is more important than the goal, everything suddenly becomes a whole lot less scary. 

Or how about this, take the word failure out of your vocabulary, erase it from your thinking but keep success in there. Celebrate those times when shit really works. Celebrate the projects that come off exactly as planned. Celebrate your learning, the new people you meet, the new places you go. And when things don’t go exactly as planned, when they just fall apart or crash and burn in an epic disaster, unpack the experience and figure out why and look at the new road ahead of you as a new opportunity for success. Approaching your business and life this way will allow you to make more intentional choices, take larger risks, sidestep rules, and stress less. Because if you can’t fail, you can do anything!

A little note about the featured picture: This is the first race my son T.K. ever ran in. He complained about training, running, the whole damn thing. The race itself consisted of him sometimes walking, sometimes running, and me trying to motivate him to keep going. It was torture, but he kept going, the whole time. Even in this picture he was pretty annoyed I MADE HIM do this. About an hour later when we were at lunch he asked me if I was proud of him. I told him I was. He told me he hated it, but the next race he wouldn’t because he would train more and wear his other sneakers. I asked him why he wanted to do another race if he hated it. He told me because he knows more now about what to expect and how to do a better job. The first time you try anything you will struggle because you don’t know, but not trying is the worst thing you can do. 

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