Failure is always an option. When people say that it’s not, what they mean is that they won’t choose failure as an option for themselves.
Wait. Did I say, “choose failure?” Who chooses to fail?
Whether we realize it or not, many choices that we make on a daily basis play an enormous part in the results of our efforts – and often we don’t see how these choices are connected with our potential success – and failure is a choice.
Four subtle choices that can sabotage our best efforts and make failure a real option:
1. Not exercising self-control.
Everyone has some area in their life where they tend to struggle with self-control. It looks different for each of us, but the inability to keep things in balance is unhealthy and can cost us much if we don’t deal with them head on. The struggle can be with anything from eating, relational boundaries, sex, or gambling to cursing, chocolate, anger, smoking or even exercise. Years ago when I was starting out in business, my vice was video games. I would buy the latest game and stay up all night playing. Then I’d go to work, be less than productive, and get back to playing the next night until I conquered the game.
Later, I learned the value of measuring where I spend my time. I mapped out my average day in 30-minute increments to discover where I was spending my time and was dismayed to discover that I was spending more time playing games than I was on my business. I had two options to choose from: Choose success in my business or choose success in late night video games. I chose the former. Honestly, if I had chosen the latter, I wouldn’t even have this opportunity to speak to you here now. Don’t let self-control issues get the best of you because failure is always an option. Choose success.
2. Thinking you can do it alone.
When we are working hard, we tend to buy into the idea that we must do it alone. Men are especially susceptible to this mindset and it is potentially dangerous and destructive. Everything about the way that we are wired proves that we are meant to do things together. Even something as simple as a hug releases positive drugs into our brain showing that connection is something we need and want.
I have asked literally hundreds of people for guidance, advice, assistance, connections, money, wisdom, strength, help, friendship, jobs, favors, promotions, time, discounts, forgiveness, trust, and prayers. There is no way I could accomplish anything significant without the help of a huge support network. Don’t do it alone. If you think you can, failure is definitely an option for you.
No man is an island, entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. John Donne
3. Choosing to hide out.
We all need time alone. That’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about those seasons when things are tough and everything’s not going right. This is when we tend to withdraw and hide out from people and situations. We don’t always realize we are hiding in our TV, hobbies, oversleeping, etc but be especially self-aware during times of struggle, because when we withdraw to hide, failure is an option.
4. Thinking you know it all.
New methods. New thoughts. New approaches. Keep your mind and life open to learning. Things that work well at first, may need to be reevaluated later. New cars eventually break down. Successful routines lose traction when situations around them change. Business trends change and new ways to reach customers emerge. If you are unwilling to learn and adapt, failure is not just an option – it’s a certainty.
Lately I’ve been looking at how I run meetings because I started feeling like they were not as effective as they should be. I found a book by Tony Alessandra called “Running Effective Meetings” and I’ve discovered all kinds of things I should start, restart, stop and adjust. I definitely don’t know it all about any subject, so I make regular efforts to learn new things and reevaluate old habits.
Each choice we make leads somewhere. Failure is always an option. But so is success.
What choices have you discovered that lead toward success for you?