Mentor Article

Success through Failure

Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach

In business, massive failure should be avoided at all costs except if you want to achieve massive success.  The level of success you have experienced in your business and in your life is directly proportional to the level of failure you are willing to experience.  Most of us only achieve a limited amount of success and can’t seem to go beyond.  Have you ever reached a point in your business where you are doing ok, or even doing well, yet you find you can’t get beyond that glass ceiling?  The No. 1 reason is because you’ve reached your failure limit.  If you want to increase your capacity for success, then you must first increase your capacity for failure.

In the attached diagram, a when a pendulum is pulled in one direction and let go, it swings at equal distance in the opposite direction.  If I start with a small angle and let go of the ball, the ball will swing in the opposite direction no further than the angle I started with.  If I increase the size of the starting angle, I also increase the distance the ball will swing in the opposite direction.  Our movement towards success is equal to the motion of the pendulum.  If we are completely resistant to making a mistake or failing in any way (the black ball), then we will also experience the same level of success – none.  If we are willing to make a mistake or fail to the level of the green ball, then at most, we will experience an equal level of success – but no more.  If, however we are willing to fail massively – we are now creating the possibility for massive success.

I can hear your response, “I did not go into business to fail massively,” that’s right and that’s the same reason you are not experiencing massive success.

Our propensity to avoid mistakes or failure results in limiting our decisions and therefore limiting our actions.  If our research shows that taking action ‘A’ is the right step in achieving our next level of business success, even though we might feel fearful, we need to feel the fear and do it anyway.  Does that mean we might not succeed?  Yes!  However, feeling the fear and taking the action anyway will get you closer to success either because you will succeed, or you will learn from the mistake that will lead to a better decision next time.  Identifying that action ‘A’ is the next step and not taking it because there is a possibility we might fail limits your success far more than if you took the action.

If you want to succeed massively, then your first step is to identify all the actions you know you should be taking but are not because you are scared to make a mistake or fail, pick one of them and do it anyway.

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