I’ve always been a bit of a risk taker. I just couldn’t seem to help it. It didn’t seem reckless to me at the time to be a bit of a daredevil. I just thought I could do it – whatever “it” was. Because of this I had difficulty relating to others who more cautious.
But being a risk taker inevitably invites failure. I’m sure I was a bit of a nightmare to my parents. Broken bones, blackened eyes and even a few broken teeth. After the swelling went down there was always a joke made that revolved around the idea of wrapping me in bubble wrap or forcing me to where a helmet.
I know, we don’t like to talk about failure. It’s the main reason why some people avoid risk altogether. But I want to share a different perspective on failure. Particularly, I want to share that I believe failure to be a necessary step in the process toward success. I also believe risk to be an essential component in the equation.
Success is inextricably linked to risk and failure
The thought of risk is disheartening for some and inspiring for others. The famous quote by T.S. Eliot states, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”. The insight behind this quote escaped me for a long time. The real meaning is that risk is the only way to success.
We don’t hear of the great successes of the world occurring without set-backs, however. Failure is a part of the scheme. The secret is to learn to the lessons of our mistakes. I stated earlier that risk invites failure - its also true that risk invites success. Failure is just along the path toward the ultimate destination.
Our perspective is that because failure is painful, we should avoid it. This reasoning leads us to do everything we can to avoid risk altogether. Two major points to be made to combat this mindset are that without risk and failure there is usually no success. And secondly, that failure seems to weave its way into the lives of non-risk takers too. So simply sitting out of the game is no guarantee of safe passage. After all, life is a little bit risky.
We are wrong about what it means to be wrong ~Kathryn Schulz
Failure is one of lifes greatest teachers. There are two ways to learn. 1) To learn from other people’s mistakes. 2) To learn from our own mistakes.
Its seems at first glance that we could avoid a lot of heartache if we could just take the advice of others who made mistakes before us. But we rarely do – with the exception that their foibles have impacted our lives in some way.
I’ve had the same conversation with my children that you’ve had with yours. It’s the one where I tell them to listen to me because I’ve been down the painful road on which they are venturing. The storyline usually ends with me as the parent consoling the child who chose instead to learn the hard way - its like its human nature or something. Painful, Yes. Pointless? Not at all.
Success and Failure aren’t at opposite ends of the spectrum. Failure is really just a stepping stone to success. Thomas Edison was once asked about the numerous unsuccessful attempts to develop the light bulb, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison responded, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
One of the biggest secrets to success is operating inside your strength zone but outside of your comfort zone~ Ralph Heath
So how do we deal with this? There is a big difference between risk and recklessness. Risk should be calculated with an honest assessment of your resources, skills and desires. If you know you need to develop in an area, then take on the challenge in manageable pieces. This way when difficulties and setbacks arise you can make the corrections, learn from the mistakes and press on.
In my case, I spent 22 years working both a job and a business. I had a measure of success in each but really wanted a full time business. The frustrations, failures and setbacks drove me to take an honest look at what I was doing wrong. It was the natural process of evaluating and learning from failure.
For me the blueprint to succeeding was made up of years of experience in what didn't work. Plus I got smarter and started learning from the experts - those who had been down that road.
In January of 2017 I met my mentor, Stuart Ross, while looking for a way to develop my business so that I could reclaim my time and gain traction toward achieving my goals. I learned 5 things that transformed my perspective and my business. Check out the 5 things here.
Wrapping it all up
Be smart about risk. It is necessary and can pay off big. But take manageable-sized risks because there will be setbacks. Your experiences and failures are great teachers from which you can learn. If you stay the course success will be your end result.
I invite you to get started with the free 7-day video series on creating time and financial freedom by building a profitable online business.