Do you have the guts to fail?
If you ever want to taste the sweetness of success, you’re going to have to change the way you view failure and what you do when you fail. From now on, start seeing it as something that ignites a new beginning.
Lessons repeat when you resist failure, and you’ll repeat the same lessons until you allow yourself to learn from failure. Your failures show you that you are never a prisoner of your past. In fact, your past is never a life sentence.
You need to trust in your actions and know that even when you fail, it’ll be okay. Every failure sparks a new beginning, but you’re not starting over from scratch. You’re starting over from experience, so never be discouraged and give it everything you’ve got.
Ignition Point is all about making a positive impact, so please share the show with someone you think it may help. We designed this weekly podcast for ambitious Young Professionals and aspiring Leaders who want to stay motivated and keep moving forward. Throughout Season 1, we will be connecting fresh perspectives with practical strategies to help listeners feel empowered all week long. You can help us improve by joining our LinkedIn and Twitter Community by using #IgnitionPoint, submitting a review on Apple Podcasts, or emailing feedback to [email protected].
Welcome to Ignition Point – the show that’s here to help you take the leap, conquer your week, and achieve your goals. If you’re looking to amplify your mindset with a fresh perspective and spark your momentum – you’re in the right place.
Hey! What’s going on? I’m Steven Miller. Thanks for joining me for another Ignition Point – the show where we cover an influential speech or feature a Guest Keynote that’ll get you fired up and ready to take on another winning week.
I’d like to give another shout out and a thank you to Tisha Marie Pelletier for coming on the show last week. She’s got an amazing energy behind all the amazing things she does.
When you meet people like her, you’ll find their vibe to be contagious. They’ll inspire you through their words, but also with the energy of their attitude. It’s one big boost that can elevate your thoughts, your potential and your results throughout a given week.
If you’ve been tuning in to the show lately, we’ve talked about identifying your ambitions, how you can hustle hard to pursue those ambitions, and how to conquer rejection whenever you face it. If you have a handle on those topics, you’re only a few steps away from being able to overcome whatever the world throws at you, but your next step is arguably the most crucial. This one skill, learned from a single changed perspective – separates quitting from winning.
Imagine you’re on a track and your sprinting toward the finish line. Nothing stands between you and glory, but all of a sudden – practically out of thin air – a concrete hurdle appears. The only way to reach the finish line is jumping over, so you jump. Then, as you rise up and off the ground in slow motion, with “We Are the Champions” by Queen playing in the background, you clip your toe on the hurdle, Freddie Mercury’s majestic voice screeches to a halt, and you come crashing down on to the track.
Not for a lack of trying. Not by someone’s intervention. Just as a consequence of life, you’ve failed.
You’re bruised, bloodied, and forty yards from the finish line. It’s in this moment that you have a decision to make. Is it worth finishing the race, knowing now that another obstacle may appear? Or should you call it a day and head home to lick your wounds?
You’re going to fail throughout your life. It’s an inconvenient truth, but if you ever want to taste the sweetness of success, you’re going to have to change the way you view failure and what you do when you fail. Today can be the day you stop thinking of failure as an end, and start seeing it as something that ignites a new beginning.
Keep that in mind as we dive into this week’s monologue, which is adapted from one of my all-time favorite speeches.
Let’s get after it!
THE WEEKLY MONOLOGUE
I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Nothing.
Nelson Mandela said: “There is no passion to be found in playing small—in settling for a life that’s less than the one you’re capable of living.”
Now, I’m sure in your experiences—in deciding what you want to do with life—I’m sure people have told you to make sure you have something to “fall back on.” But I’ve never understood that concept, of having something to fall back on.
If I’m going to fall, I don’t want to fall back on anything. I want to fall forward. At least this way, I figure, I’ll see what I’m about to hit.
Here’s what I mean: Reggie Jackson struck out twenty-six-hundred times in his career—the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs.
Thomas Edison conducted 1,000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didn’t either—because #1,001 was the light bulb.
Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. You’ve got to take risks, and I’m sure you’ve probably heard that before, but I want to talk about why it’s so important.
First… you will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something, there‘s no doubt about it. That’s probably not a traditional message. But, hey, I’m telling you—embrace it, because it’s inevitable.
And I should know; I fail all the time. I continue to fail.
But it doesn’t matter. Because you know what? There’s an old saying that goes, “You hang around a barbershop long enough—sooner or later you will get a haircut.” You will catch a break. You have the training and the talent to succeed, but do you have guts to fail?
Here’s my second point: If you don’t fail, you’re not trying hard enough. “To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.”
Les Brown, who’s a motivational speaker, made an analogy about this. Imagine you’re on your deathbed—and standing around your bed are the ghosts representing your unfulfilled potential. The ghosts of the ideas you never acted on. The ghosts of the talents you didn’t use. And they’re standing around your bed. Angry, disappointed, and upset. They say to you, “We came to you because you could have brought us to life, and now we go to the grave together.”
So, I ask you today: How many ghosts are going to be around your bed when your time comes?
You invested a lot in yourself to get to where you are now. And people invested in you. And let me tell you, the world needs your talents. There are places all around the world that need help. Even your home needs help. The world needs a lot—and we need it from you.
So, you’ve got to get out there and give it everything you’ve got—whether it’s your time, your talent, your prayers, or your treasure. Because remember this: You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.
You can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried it, and all they got was robbed!
So, the question is, what are you going to do with what you have?
Some of you are in business. Some of you are preachers, medical professionals, sociologists, and creators. Some of you have money. Some of you have patience. Some have kindness. Some have love. Some of you have the gift of long-suffering. Whatever it is… what are you going to do with what you have?
Now, here’s my last point about failure: Sometimes it’s the best way to figure out where you’re going. Your life will never be a straight path.
Taking a risk is not just about going for a job or going after something you want. It’s also about knowing what you know and what you don’t know. It’s about being open to people, and to ideas. It’s about starting somewhere and taking small steps. It’s about being open to failure.
In the role I play now, I take risks, I slowly overcome my fears, and ultimately my heart becomes flooded with love.
I can’t think of a better message to send you off with today. To not only take risks, but to be open to life. To accept new views and to be open to new opinions. To be willing to speak up even though you’re scared stiff.
While it may be frightening, it will also be rewarding. Because the chances you take… the people you meet… the people you love...the faith that you have—that’s what’s going to define your life.
So… This is your mission: Never be discouraged. Never hold back. Give it everything you’ve got. And when you fall throughout life—fall forward.
STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS
If you’ve never heard this speech in its entirety, check out the Show Notes on our website for a link to the video. I can’t recommend it enough.
The idea behind “falling forward,” has a long history and has been said in many ways. I’ve heard people say that you should fail up or fail forward, but the speaker makes his point by nailing the explanation for why it’s so important, regardless of how you say it.
Someone once told me that you will repeat the same lesson until it’s learned. Lessons repeat when you resist failure, instead of learning from it. So, if you are open to taking risks and you embrace failure, you’re able to learn more from each one.
To get the ball rolling, you need remove the fear of failure from your life and start taking risks. Yes – that is a tall order, but it doesn’t have to be viewed as some gigantic undertaking.
Let’s use Elon Musk as an example. He’s the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink and probably ten other companies we don’t know about. He’s always said that when something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
Now, you may be thinking, “that’s all well and good, but Elon can afford to fail. He’s got billions of dollars to burn.” And that’s true if you’re looking at where he is now. But that same man has been fired from multiple companies he founded, he’s blown up multi-million-dollar rockets, he’s destroyed NASA satellites, and has nearly bankrupt a few of his current businesses.
It goes to show you that you are never a prisoner of your past. Your past should teach you a number of lessons to make you stronger. Your past is never a life sentence.
What you have to keep in mind is that there is no straight path to success. If there was, everyone would be living large. The best you can do is say yes to new adventures and never seek permission when you try something new. If you hit a roadblock, learn something and apply it to your journey.
On that journey, you need to trust the process and focus on making progress. On the one hand, you can’t just take a risk, and then look over your shoulder at every turn, as if your next failure was lurking in the shadows, hunting you down. You need to trust in your actions and know that even when you fail, it’ll be okay. On the other hand, you have to see things as they really are and stop telling yourself stories that make you comfortable. Creating a comfort zone inhibits your ability to take risks and learn from your mistakes. When you accept these realities, you can confidently put one foot in front of the other.
This leads me to my last advice for you on dealing with failure. Step by step, you’ll move closer toward fulfilling your goals, your dreams, and your ambitions. So, don’t get discouraged when you’re forced to take two steps back. Don’t convince yourself that it’s impossible because you keep experiencing setback after setback. What seems impossible is only impossible until someone does it. So, double down and finish what you start, even if it means starting over again.
Failure sparks a new beginning, but you’re not starting over from scratch. You’re starting over from experience.
No matter how much that hurts, and how it may seem like all the work leading you to this moment was wasted, you can’t throw in the towel – as much as you may want to. Never let your emotions overpower your intelligence, because deep down, you know you can reach the finish line, regardless of what physical, mental or interpersonal obstacles may stand in your way.
You’ll regret two things in life: the things you never do and the things you tried, but never completed. You’ve got to cut fear out of the equation and commit to only ever quit what’s legitimately bad for your mind, body and spirit.
Stop fearing failure, start taking risks, trust the process, focus on making progress, and finish what you start.
Whether you succeed or fail, do it quietly and privately. If you decide to let the world look behind the curtain, share your progress and the wisdom you’ve picked up along the way.
Ignition Point is all about making a positive impact, so please share the show with someone you think it would help. Your feedback helps Ignition Point to keep moving forward, so send me an email to [email protected] or write a review for the show on Apple Podcasts to let me know what you think.
We hold out until the end of each show to share who inspired each week’s Ignition Point for two reasons. To keep you curious and remind you to focus on the motivation. This week’s Ignition Point was adapted from Denzel Washington’s 2011 Commencement Address at University of Pennsylvania.
This week, think about these words from Stephen Covey. “You are not a product of your circumstances. You are a product of your decisions.”
So, stay motivated and keep moving forward. If you put in the hard work right now – one day – you could be the one motivating the world with your story.
I’ll look forward to speaking with you next time on another Ignition Point.
Now get on out there and win the week!