“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda
If it was impossible to fail it would also be impossible to succeed. You see, to succeed, you must accept that the potential to succeed only exists because the potential to fail also exists.
Think of it another way: if you had never experienced a bad day, how would you know you were having a good day? Without bad there could be no good, and if there were no downs there could be no ups… everything in life is relevant to something else and you could say that everything in life has an opposite.
However, while it’s true that without failure there can be no success, this doesn’t mean that you must fail in order to succeed. Accepting the potential to fail is quite different to expecting to fail. Focusing on failure can only ever keep you blinkered to anything other than failure – in other words, if you’re looking for failure, you’ll find it.
Of course, focusing on success is no guarantee that success will be yours. There can be no guarantee that every plan you make is going to work out just the way you want it to. You might not achieve exactly what you were aiming for but that doesn’t mean you’re all out of options. This might mean taking a detour, but you can still get to where you want to go.
The problem with the popular “failure is not an option” mantra is that when things don’t go to plan, not achieving the anticipated outcome can be perceived as out and out failure, and, if failure hasn’t been considered as an option, this can stop you in your tracks. If you haven’t accepted the potential to fail, what happens when you “fail”?
Failure is not the end of the road, it’s just a step that’s going to help you to succeed next time.
Accepting the potential to fail allows you to pick up the pieces and look for detours when things don’t go to plan, but remember, accepting is not the same as expecting. Accepting allows you to learn from what didn’t go to plan and to keep your focus on what did and what can still be achieved if you apply what you learned from the experience and take it forward with you. Expecting, on the other hand, leads to repeated failure. When you expect to fail, failure becomes the norm and you get stuck where you are. To move forward, you need to celebrate every success, no matter how small, and keep your focus on the little things that are positive steps towards your big goal. Not achieving your big goal is not the end of the road if you accept that things won’t always go to plan and move on… taking the positives that can be found in every situation forwards with you.
Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach and has worked tirelessly to help clients achieve success in the world of sport and business over the past 15 years. The next, highly popular, NLP Diploma and Life Coaching Certificate course starts in September 2019. Click here for more information or to sign up.