It is not an option whether or not you will fail in life. I guarantee that you will fail at something. The question is: How will you process that failure? Will you let failure teach you? Or will you respond with self-condemnation?
Failure can be a great teaching tool if you let it, but many people respond to failure as if it is a final declaration. They look at failure as a judgment about themselves. As a result, they respond with self-condemnation.
Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Failure is not a destination. Failure is not a place to stay. Because failure is just the starting point of the next leg of the journey.
Here are three reasons why you should not respond to failure with self-condemnation.
Have you ever been in a meeting with these kinds of people? On one side of the table you have the guy who exudes optimism. He gushes about how the team can achieve what you have never been able to do before. You want to believe him, until the guy on the other side of the table speaks. The other guy says how it’s not possible to do what the first guy says and gives a laundry list of reasons. He brings everyone back to reality based on his cold, hard facts. But what if you could use both of their thinking to your advantage? What if you combined their thinking into what seemed like a paradox? What if you looked at the situation with grounded realism, but you also believed in your ability to succeed anyway? That combination of cold, hard facts with blue-sky optimism can make any venture get off the ground.
Here are three steps you can take to put this paradox of a governing philosophy into practice in your life or in your work.
If you are to become a good leader, self-awareness is something you must develop. In fact, self-awareness is one of the key fundamental building blocks of good leadership.
There are many powerful and wealthy heads of companies in the world who are not good leaders. They are driven by ego and are blind to their own weaknesses. As a result, they do not know themselves well.
As Polonius said in Hamlet,
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
To be true to yourself, you must know yourself. Developing self-awareness will help you in all areas of your life—not just with your team at work, but with your family relationships at home.
Here are three levels of self-awareness to develop as you progress as a leader.
The drive home from celebrating Christmas 23 ago was forever etched into my mind. My wife and I had gone to celebrate the holiday with her side of the family in the Shenandoah Valley. We had a great time of opening presents, eating good food, and laughing a lot. We knew we had a two-hour drive back to Northern Virginia ahead of us, but that was before the snow started falling. When we finally got on the highway, the snow was coming down so hard that we could barely see what was right in front of us. Drivers who were not seeing clearly that night spun around in the middle of the road or got stuck in the median. And not seeing clearly that night made our two hour drive into a much longer, white-knuckled experience that I haven’t forgotten 23 years later.
You will find that not seeing clearly in your life can have dangerous consequences. If you don’t see things clearly or accurately, you will draw incorrect conclusions based on what you think you see.
Here are three unclear situations to watch out for.
When I first entered the workforce, I wanted to be credentialed. I wanted someone to affirm that I knew what I was doing. I was looking for someone else to say that I was qualified to do what I was doing. In effect, I was requesting permission to succeed.
But truly successful people don’t ask for permission to succeed. They just go out and get it done.
To become successful, it’s important to do these three things—in this order—without asking for permission first.
I once heard a story about a young, aspiring actor in Hollywood who was invited to go to one of the local parties. It was in effect a Hollywood networking function where famous actors and actresses attended. One of the movie actors there was Walter Matthau. Walter Matthau during his lifetime appeared in more than 60 movies, and won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and two Tony Awards. Reportedly, Matthau asked the young actor how it was going. The aspiring actor replied, “I’m just looking for that one big break!” Matthau laughed, and said, “Kid, it’s not the one big break. It’s the fifty big breaks.”
Just like the aspiring actor, you won’t achieve overnight success. One big break will not help you. Unless it is supported by other breaks, that one big break will fade. You will attain success through incremental progress—by gaining one big break after another.
You can achieve the success you want if you will focus on these practices.
No one likes to be criticized. It’s not fun to be told what you did wrong. But criticism is exactly what we need to hear to get better.
If you were taking a college writing course and got glowing remarks every time you turned in a paper, those remarks might make you feel good at first. But if the remarks became a consistent trend, they would begin to ring hollow. As a result of the consistently positive feedback, you would eventually realize that you weren’t getting any feedback that would help you improve. You would sense that you needed some constructive criticism to help you get better.
While not all criticism is constructive, it can be received in that way. But that requires that you look at criticism in the right way. Here are three steps to deal with criticism and make it work for you.
Because you are a leader, you are a spiritual target. You have people depending on you to do the right thing. And the enemy of your soul wants to take you down.
Pastors are leaders with big targets on their backs. But business leaders have targets on their backs too. And parents especially have targets on their backs. Because all these leaders carry the responsibility of leading and caring for those in their charge.
It is imperative to watch out for how you can be targeted by the enemy of your soul. Here are some warning signs from James 1:14 to help you handle being a spiritual target.
If you have achieved success in your business, then that should be commended. As Ecclesiastes 5:19 says, it is the gift of God when you can rejoice in your labor and take your portion as a result of attaining riches and wealth. Therefore, you should not feel like an impostor.
God knows exactly who you are—and who you are not. If you have been successful, then it is fine to acknowledge that God has blessed your efforts. But it is not good to put on a false humility. Neither is it good to believe that you had nothing to do with your success.
Don’t give into thinking you’re a fraud. Here are three DON’Ts to remember when you think you are an impostor.
All distractions can steal your time, but some distractions can steal your potential. Even though all distractions can take you off course, these potential-limiting distractions can make you think that you are still on the right road.
These potential-limiting distractions play upon your desires and fears. If you do not keep these desires and fears in check, these potential-limiting distractions can make you think you’re doing what’s best. But they will prevent you from realizing God’s best for you.
Here are three potential-limiting distractions to watch for in your life.