Ambition comes with a great deal of courage because it’s a prerequisite of putting it all on the table when it’s all you have left. It can go either way, one path leads to success and the other is failure.
We learn a lot from both but if we’re courageous and honest enough to say the word out loud, failure is the best way I’ve learned my limitations and where to push a little harder.
On this day in 2014 I picked up the keys for my office in Portland. I was also battling Ulcerative Colitis or so I thought, it turned out to be Crohn’s. It was the hardest 16 months of treatment because it was physically and mentally taxing. Once you throw the isolation part of my illness into the works, you can see where having office space was an unrealistic ambition for myself because of the isolation my disease commands.
I learned so much in that season. I learned how how strong I am, how hopeful I remain, how my disease impacts others, how to manage myself, and most importantly, how to forgive myself on falling short of expectations. I was upset about not living up to my commitment to occupy the Anchor Building with Gill Holland and his team.
However, the majority of embarrassment and disappointment was because my heart was committed to it and those feelings influenced my mind to believe that I could on the sole foundation that if I wanted to get better, my body would follow my minds lead.
I bet you can tell me the game score on that one … Reality 1, Heart 0.
Reality didn’t hurt as bad as my workaholic soul but pain is pain. The positive side of pain is that it will teach you more than you’d believe but don’t take my word for it, read these lessons about failure from highly successful people:
1. Accept failure, but keep trying.
Michael Jordan once said that, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Failure then becomes a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. In other words, failure is a part of the journey toward success. Everyone fails at one time or another, the courage part comes in continuing to try.
2. Continue forward in spite of failure.
Walt Disney was fired because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Here is the man responsible for an empire of imaginative movies and play for children the world over, and yet, he lost his job due to a lack of imagination. The lesson here is to keep moving toward that end goal, even when other people fail to see the same vision.
3. Success or failure is dependent upon whether or not you keep at it.
Babe Ruth said that, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” This lesson is similar to Edison’s remark about his light bulb. Like it or not failure is the very engine of success, moving us one step closer to a successful conclusion. Of course, this also means that you have to keep going and not quit in attempting to achieve your goal.
4. Sometimes failure simply means changing direction.
Love Ben & Jerry ice cream? So do I. Here were a couple of guys that had completely different directions for their lives and still managed to become admirably successful. Mr. Ben Cohen dropped out of college, while Mr. Jerry Greenfield failed to get into medical school, and both managed to become and remain wildly successful.
5. Believe in yourself.
Not everyone is going to “get you.” Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, and Carol Burnett were all told to pack it in and go home due to their “astounding” lack of talent. Yet, can you imagine a world without their music and humor? Success begins through believing in what you can do. Don’t let other people discourage you in your path toward success.
6. Failure is a chance to learn.
Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Certainly, Edison would agree. You’ve just learned all the wrong ways toward that particular success, as Edison did with his “ten thousand” wrong attempts. Every lesson learned, every failure, is a movement in the right direction.
7. Attitude about failure can make all the difference.
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm,” said Sir Winston Churchill. England was at a great disadvantage with the advent of World War II. Here is a prime example of tiny David against mighty Goliath. Churchill’s enthusiastic belief in England’s defense was a part of the turning point for that country in the war.
8. Courage must be your watchword.
“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down,” a quote from Mary Pickford. We are all quite capable of spectacular mistakes and some of us, myself included, have made them. The key is to not allow defeat and failure to be the end-all. You must continue forward.
9. Don’t give up.
“For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a road block, take a detour,” a quote from Mary Kay Ash. She was the founder of the very successful home business for leading cosmetics. Perhaps, the lesson of the failure is that there may be a better or a different way to achieve your goal.
10. Success can only grow from failure.
Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister said, “All my successes have been built on my failures.” Indeed, failure is only a tipping point when one is on the road to success. Without failure, we as humans don’t learn and our movement toward success is stagnated. Let failure guide you toward success instead of becoming the stopping point.
In unrelated news, guess who’s looking for office space? Kidding, it’s not available for me while I’m cycling off of medications for new treatments to begin. I’ll get there one day and when I do, I truly hope it’s in Portland again or in a similar creative space that allows my mind to go, my spirit to be full, realist expectations for my heart, and courage when I become fearful.
History doesn’t have to repeat itself and I believe in the power of positivity. Anything can happen all it takes is a little patience, forgiveness, ambition, and a whole lot of glitter! Thankful to be where I am and working on where I want to go professionally and personally.
Do you know anyone on the struggle bus because of fear? If yes, share this article with them and hope it sparks the change they need.