Steve Martin faced this fear every week for eighteen years. In his words, “10 years, spent learning, 4 years spent refining, and 4 years as a wild success!” — James Clear in Atomic Habits
Interestingly, this is what we all had in common
In December of last year, I was privileged alongside several others to be invited to have lunch with the CEO of a corporate organization headquartered in Munich, Germany. This was not an opportunity that came easily to many — to sit across the table with someone in this position and have lunch. But in as much as I was thrilled, I tried to be cool about it. As the lunch date went by, we ate, talked, (or rather the others talked for the most part, while I did most of the listening). At the end of the day, I not only became thankful for that opportunity and the conversations that happened around the table but realized an important fact:
Everyone regardless of position, level or professional experience have had their struggle with failures and honestly…(still do)
Plus, the “lunch date” left me with a parting gift — the confidence to write this article. It was when I got home that evening, I began to type the first lines of this article in a message I later mailed to myself and left it until today. But from that point, I had begun a journey of reflecting some more on my experience with failure over the years. And with a fresh perspective, I was starting to look back at the challenges and struggles I had dealing with unexpected professional challenges, personal setbacks, and of course, the many discoveries I had made through dozens of trial and error.
Dont worry, you are not alone
“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart.” — Will Smith.”
To be quite candid, I have been in a relationship with failure long before now. At School? Professionally? And in my private life? I have got some “F” receipts to show for it. I remember from my time as an undergraduate when I received one of my worst university results ever at the end of the first year of my studies. It was in a subject that every student needed to pass without which it was impossible to graduate from the University.
Like most motivated students, I had invested ample time to prepare for the examination. In my mind, I had done everything right (so I thought). But when the result was released, I failed! I have similar stories from my professional journey. And the moral lesson I take from such a situation is;
– sometimes even when you might “think” that you have done everything within your means to set yourself up for success, failure can be an inevitable outcome.
Cardi B had the answers
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” — Winston Churchill
So some days ago, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night with this strange thought in my head and I began to myself:
“What if after all the work you have put in all these years, all the effort you have made, all the strides and small wins you have had, it all comes down to another failure again?”
The first answers I found at that point in time came from the lyrics of the famous American music philosopher (rapper) named “Cardi B”. In one of her popular rap songs titled “Get up 10”, she said:
“I look myself in the mirror and say we are going to win, I have been down 9 times but I get up 10!” — Card B
For me, there is clearly no other option, but to simply get up again! As Sebastian Thrun sums it up,
“It’s not failure that makes us special; it’s our ability to iterate quickly. It’s fast failure!
How would you deal with yours?
Teaser Photo by Julian Dutton on Unsplash