Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
There’s a TV show I love called Friday Night Lights that follows the trials and tribulations of a high school football team in Texas.
After one fiercely contested game the coach tells his players.
You didn’t lose today, you were beaten and you should hold your heads high because you left everything you had out on that field.
I never played competitive sport growing up and so I missed the lesson about how important failure was.
I think if I’d played football then I would have understood that failure is not the opposite of success but an integral part of it.
There was a time when even the idea of failing was enough to stop me in my tracks, which of course meant that I never took action to make my ideas a reality.
It took me a while to understand that my focus should be less on the outcome and more on how I show up because the outcome will take care of itself.
Next time you fail at something, instead of skulking on the sofa with wine and Netflix, remind yourself that it’s really no big deal.
It probably just means that you need more practice.
Or maybe you could do something differently next time around.
Or it might be the universe’s way of pushing you in a different direction altogether.
Get curious and ask yourself, what is the lesson I need to learn here?
No matter how crappy it makes you feel in the moment failure is nothing more than a learning opportunity.
What’s really important is that you keep showing up and bringing your A game.
Because every ‘no’ you hear and every door that slams in your face only takes you closer to what you really want.
In the end it’s not whether you win that will count, but whether you left everything you had out on the field.