Monday, November 11, 2013

Be Bold: Failing Successfully!

by Jeff Shore

Failure is inevitable. We all know that. We learn this fact of life at very young ages and we develop a response to failure that often follows us into adulthood. Most of us learn to adjust our behavior in order to not experience failure, or at least, not the kind of failure that is very obvious or painful.

We attempt ➜ We Fail ➜ We never try again. The End.

On some level, we all know that the above pattern is a natural but entirely juvenile progression. As we develop and grow, we learn to push back on our knee-jerk, immature response to failure. We have countless sayings to describe this:

"No pain, no gain."
"It has to get worse before it gets better."
"What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger."
"If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain."

And yet.

If we are brutally honest with ourselves, the degree to which we have internalized this reality is not extreme. We set the bar low. We excuse our choices with equally famous phrases like “I’m only human” and “I can only do so much.” Or, we camouflage our choices to not try (risking failure) as choosing balance or “being so Zen.”   Humans may be at their most creative when they are trying to justify their own mediocrity.

How often do we unthinkingly change our behavior in order to not experience failure? Put another way, how much and how often do we not try just so we don’t fail? If you’re reading this, you have to be breathing and if you are breathing, you are alive and if you are alive, the answer to that question is: MUCH more often than you realize!   As evolved as any one of us may be, the magnet-like pull to avoid failure is immeasurably strong and somehow, every day, we give in to it.

If you imagine a typical day in your head, starting at the beginning, it won’t take you long to come to the first occurrence of something you do mainly to avoid failure. Take a moment to imagine the best that could happen in that scenario and then choose to start there, adjusting your actions based on possible success instead of the fear of failure. And know this: it may not “work.” Failure leads to failure leads to failure...until it doesn’t! Success ONLY comes after failure and usually that looks like this:

Failure ➜ Failure ➜ Failure ➜ Failure ➜ Failure ➜ Success!

Mediocrity requires no change. Success demands it. The path to growth is a direct route to your own failure...and your own success. You are not a child, you can do this. Be bold: fail successfully!

About the Author:
Jeff Shore is a highly sought-after sales expert, speaker, author and executive coach whose innovative BE BOLD methodology teaches you how to change your mindset and change your world. His latest book, Be Bold and Win the Sale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Performance, is forthcoming from McGraw-Hill in January 2014. Learn more at and follow Jeff on Twitter.

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