PFA 027: 4 Things you can do to respond to failure.
The Prepare for Awesome Podcast
PFA 027 Show Notes
On today’s show, I want to pick up on the topic I spoke about last week and that is the big F word. Failure, but today I want to look at what to do and how you can respond to failure.
#Failure #PrepareForAwesome #Motivation #Consistency #Inspiration #WinstonChurchill #Success #CharlesLindburgh
So as we begin this new year, you like many other people may have reflected on last year. What went well, what did not. How you did according to your goals in all the various areas of life and business?
Now for some people, that look back can be good as you recognise that on the whole you did well and met most of your goals. However, for other people you may look back at the disaster which was last year in horror and wonder how you will move forward or you may look back and see those things that did not go according to plan and failed.
In the last episode of this podcast, I mentioned a quote by Winston Churchill. ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,’ and that brings me to a question from a listener to this channel which is a follow on from late week.
Mike asked, ‘Last year for me was a failure as I did not reach any of my goals and in some cases went backwards. What can I do differently this year so that I reach the goals I want to reach? Some one said I am reaching to high and should expect to fail, so I must lower my expectations. Is that the right? I will avoid disappointment that way.’
The first thing to say is don’t lower your expectations or your goals. That only breeds mediocrity.
As many of you know, I love flying, whether it’s fixed wing or helicopter. Large aircraft or small. Flying is a passion for me. I also enjoy reading about the success of flying and the failure. I know it may sound sad, but I enjoy watching video of aircraft flights, take off and landing.
But imagine if the early pioneers of powered or rotary flight had lowered their expectations! It is unlikely that we would have the airlines, the fighter jets, the air ambulances or police helicopter we so take for granted today.
In 1919 a New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig offered a reward of $25000 for the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic from New York to Paris or vice-versa, which he reissued in 1925. To that date, there were no competitors because aircraft and engine capabilities had not yet reached the levels required for such a test.
However, by 1925, with aviation pioneers pushing the boundaries, aircraft and engines had advanced to the point where a number of serious challenges could be mounted. The first was First World War fighter ace and decorated hero Rene Fonck, who backed by aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky, launched his attempt in 1926. It ended in disaster as his aircraft was hopelessly overloaded and crashed on takeoff killing 2.
Although that attempt resulted in a failure, others continued to set their sights high and dream of what could be. They were not put off and did not lower their sights. Further attempt’s resulted in more crashes and aircraft’s disappearing never to be found, but aviators continued to look for better and more reliable aircraft and engines.
And they did not stop trying, until Charles Lindbergh flying his Spirit of St Louis left New York on Friday 20th May 1927 and flew non-stop eventually landing in Paris 33 and half hours later.
But imagine for a moment where flying might be had the brave men decided it was too hard, that too many of their competitors had died, that it was too expensive, that they faced too many critics?
Where would transatlantic or any flight be?
You see, their willingness to push the boundaries, to try new things, to adapt and change what did not work previously in the hope that it would work the second time around. These are the things which make the way we fly today possible.
Now let’s take this thought a little further. Most of the competing aircraft’s were multi-engined which, it was believed would make them more reliable and give them greater endurance, but Lindbergh insisted on a single engine. Big risk, but so was the idea of not having a front windshield, the decision to fly solo without radio, sextant or parachute.
However, not only was aviation changed forever but so was Charles Lindbergh. He had gone from an obscure pilot flying mail around the country to a national and world hero. He got to live his dream.
So you may be asking yourself what this story has to do with you and your business and what lessons, if any, are the take away’s from it which can help you overcome failure in the past or indeed in the future?
There are a few actually.
Firstly, let me reiterate my previous comment. And that is, never lower your expectations of yourself or of what you want from your business or life. But let your past be a lesson for the future.
Start by examining your current emotional feeling. How do you feel about the failure to reach your goals last year, last month, last week or even yesterday? What is your state of mind? Are you frustrated, angry, annoyed, disappointed?
Now in that emotional state, ask yourself what you could have done differently or additionally which would have resulted in your success.
Start with the statement, ‘If only I’d have ….’ and complete the sentence. This is about you and your actions or activity. This is not where you get to blame other people, the government, the weather, your colleagues. It’s about you and your actions. It’s about you taking responsibility for yourself and your goals.
‘If only I’d have done XYZ,’ ‘If only I’d have done ABC.’ Write down everything that comes to mind.
Secondly, now turn your anger, frustration, disappointment, annoyance at your lack of action or activity, poor planning or bad execution into finding solutions and better ways of working. Look for solutions to each of the points you have mentioned if only you had done.
You see, all these aviators looked at their competitors and asked, ‘Why did they fail?’ ‘What did they do wrong, so that we don’t make the same mistakes.’
Thirdly, now that you have the solutions and ideas, create a strategic overview of how you will go from where you are to where you want to be in 12 months time. Set out your goals and each of the checkpoints along the way. Checkpoints are those pre-planned dates when you will look back over the past week, month, 3 months and ask yourself whether, as Jim Rohn often said, you are ‘on track or off-track.’
Define what the end result will look like and most importantly how you will feel when you have achieved your goals. Actually, write this out including how you will feel. The sense of accomplishment. The sense of success.
So you are now turning that feeling of anger, annoyance, disappointment and frustration into excitement, elation, joy. You have moved yourself from that negative environment to a positive environment.
Things are starting to happen in your brain. All sorts of chemicals are beginning to race around, which is a topic for another podcast, but it is all happening.
Fourthly, now in that elevated state, begin to build an action plan of the non-negotiable things you must to do every day in order to get you where you want to be. Be clear and understand that it is the small actions repeated daily which bring about the biggest results.
And then finally get busy doing those things each and every day. I am not sure who said it, but I once read a quote, ‘Little by little, block by block, day by day, the wall was built until suddenly The Great Wall of China was 21000km long and one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.’
'Little by little, block by block, day by day, the wall was built until suddenly The Great Wall of China was 21000km long and one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.' Click To TweetFirstly, let me reiterate my previous comment. And that is, never lower your expectations of yourself or of what you want from your business or life. But let your past be a lesson for the future.
Little by little the aviation pioneers tried and failed and tried again, learning in most cases from their own and others failures until Charles Lindbergh flew non-stop across the Atlantic and we have flight as we know it today.
Little by little, learning from the past, respond to failure with success.
Little by little, learning from the past, respond to failure with success. Little by little, learning from the past, respond to failure with success. Click To Tweet
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