Failure Is Just A Part Of Growing
What does the word “Risk” mean to you? Is it married to your fear(s) until death do they part? Does the phrase “course correct” imply to you that you’ve failed? Does the idea of “untapped potential” make you break out in hives? Do you avoid the “road less traveled”?
Fear makes almost everyone uncomfortable. Fear is an integral part of risk; of going down the road less traveled; of even thinking of putting yourself into a situation where you would need to dive deep within to bring up some of that untapped potential.
But – if you are brave enough to get your friends to open up to the dreams they have, you will see some of their untapped potential being exposed to the light. If you are brave enough to open up and share your own dreams, you will learn things about yourself that you didn’t know.
Risk is a barometer to how much courage you will allow yourself to have. You have extraordinary dreams that you would do in a heartbeat, if you could be guaranteed that you wouldn’t fail. Courage will tell you that you have to let failure be a normal part of putting action to your dreams.
In the past couple of weeks I stumbled on to a new (at least to me) online news subscription. It’s called “The Profile” and it features Polina Marinova. She is doing things a little differently. She is doing deep dives on prominent figures and it is really interesting. I wanted to share some of the things that one her profiles had to say about failure. While this article pertained to purusing a business, the lessons contained can be applied to any kind of change or transformation you are thinking about making in your life. Click the link and check her out, she has both free and paid subscriptions. (everything in quotes is from her article and reading her article inspired me to write this one).
“Failure is not the outcome – failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.” – Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely says that she is no stranger to failure. She failed her LSAT tests ending her dream career as a trial attorney. She had an interesting dad, who taught his children to celebrate failure. When she was growing up, each person at the dining room table had to share their biggest failure for the week while they were eating dinner. If they didn’t have one, her father would be disappointed, because that meant they hadn’t put themselves out there to do something impossible. She learned from this that the only true failure is when you don’t try.
One night getting ready for a party she stumbled onto an idea for a gap in the fashion industry, and that began the creation process for Spanx. She stated that she kept the idea to herself for a whole year while she worked behind the scenes, before she sought validation from friends and family. By the time she told them about it;
- she had named her product,
- researched the market,
- patented it,
- created a prototype.
She knew that all of the negative comments about her idea would have killed it if she had talked about it immediately. How many ideas have you had, where that happened to you? Her advice? Don’t seek validation from others until you’re ready with proof of concept.
It is common when an idea pops into your head to discount it. Today while writing this blog, a neighbor was mowing his lawn, and the noise of the lawnmower was irritating me. I said to my office partner that someone should invent a solar powered electric lawn mower. It could be that someone has. I don’t know. I thought about it for a moment and said. “it could have a rechargeable battery that sits in the sun all week just waiting to be popped into the machine. It would be quiet like an electric car, as well as being better for the environment.’
Now like Sara –
- I know nothing about getting something like that done.
- I know very little about solar power or engines.
- I am not mechanically inclined.
- I don’t know other things an inventor would commonly know.
- I have no connections or funding on how you would do this.
The only difference between Sara (with her initial lack of business, manufacturing, and fashion industry knowledge) and myself is the level of passion she had for it. For me, this is just a wonderful idea that I am happy to give to someone else. For her, it was an idea she was in love with.
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sara Blakely
When you take fear out of the equation, it becomes easy to embrace the unknown. One of the keys to her success, is that she was a fashion outsider, and didn’t know how it was supposed to be done. Her ignorance became her greatest asset. “I had no idea how things were supposed to be done, and if you have no idea how something’s supposed to be done, I guarantee that you’ll end up being disruptive,” she said. When you are an outsider you see things in a different way, because you don’t know how it’s supposed to go. Beginners mind always starts by asking the question “why” over and over again.
In 2000, Blakely used her $5,000 in savings to start her company, and by 2012, she was named the youngest self-made female billionaire. Sara still owns 100% of Spanx because she never took on outside investors. She sees an opportunity in every failure or disappointment. “Spanx wouldn’t exist if I had aced the LSAT,” she says.
Take control of your mindset by immersing yourself with great books that teach you how to life a positive life. Sara tells how her dad bought her the Wayne Dyer program called “How to Be a No-Limit Person” when she was having a hard time with personal and financial issues. Most of higher education teaches you what to think, Wayne Dyer taught her how to think. A critical part of using failure to be successful, is that you have the ability to control your own thoughts and confront your self-doubt. “Now more than ever, your greatest weapon is your mindset,” says Sara.
“Success, to me, is finding the courage to live your fullest and biggest life.” – Sara Blakely
The first Saturday of every month we get together on Zoom to talk about our challenges, to encourage each other, and provide inspiration to continue on our individual journeys. As we share the lessons of each one’s individual journey, resilience is grown for everyone. Putting your dreams into action is definitely taking the road less traveled.
Join us for the next conversation and find the courage to live your fullest and biggest life.