How did you fail today?
September 19, 2018 by Richard Farrell Jr | Blog
How did you fail today?
I’ve mentioned Sara Blakely before. She’s the badass who invented Spanx and became the youngest self-made female billionaire in U.S. history. She still owns 100% of all things Spanx and she’s very good at failing. The story goes (it’s on the internet, so it must be true) that every night at dinner Sara Blakely’s father would ask her and her brother what they failed at that day. And then he praised them for their failures because he knew that failure meant they tried.
Can you imagine how much success we’d all be swimming in if we lived in a world that encouraged us to fail? What if your parents required you to fail at something every day? At first you’d try things that you were good at, but that probably wouldn’t lead to failure. Eventually, like Sara and her brother, you’d start auditioning for the school musical, trying out for the track team, baking a cake from scratch, cutting your own hair (yeah, we all tried and failed at that), setting up a lot more Koolaid stands.
When you’re required to rack up 365 failures (366 during Leap Year) annually, you start stretching muscles you didn’t even know you had. And if you’re required to do something – anything! – and fail at it, a whole new world opens up for you. And when you fail on a regular basis, you’re not just stretching muscles, you’re building them and those are muscles that will propel you to success.
Have you seen the meme that says, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It’s a great sentiment, but it ain’t no “Fail.” When you set out to fail, you don’t need to bandage a wounded ego. Because – wrap your head around this – if the intent is to fail and you fail, you succeed. And, by definition, if you don’t fail… you succeed. The concept brings a whole new meaning to the idea of win-win, because it’s all you. You win, no matter what. Meditate on that a minute.
Now that you’re part of the zen of failing (which is that you always succeed if you set out to fail), start your list. And remember, it’s a fail list. This list doesn’t include what you want to succeed at. It’s not a bucket list or New Year’s resolutions. It’s a FAIL list so add things that you normally wouldn’t attempt. Since failing is the new succeeding, it’s o.k. if you end up seeking assistance or not trying the same thing more than once. The point is you tried.
That’s the secret of failing and it brings us back to the beginning of this story. Failing really isn’t about failing, it’s about trying. Failing builds your try muscle and when it’s strong enough, you’re ready to fly. Any fear that you might feel from a lifetime of minimal trying is replaced by a clear sense of who you are and how much you know you can accomplish.
It’s time we all failed every day.