Failure is a choice. It’s not by chance.
Far too many leaders see failure as a way of life. Now, you would think that breaking free would be easy. All you have to do is clap three times and say, “I believe.” Right? Actually, if you want to move forward then you have to move out of the way. You have to be brave enough to leave the hamster wheel.
If business leaders want to survive this Covid-19 pandemic, then they have to be willing to move forward and pivot based on the present reality. This means that if companies want to gain clients, resonate with their customers, and increase their bottom line, then they must be willing to shift their plans and stay away from the quicksand of mediocrity.
Success requires agility more than strength. It means switching the record when it starts to skip. However, this is easier said than done.
Rita Mae Brown said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” She’s absolutely right. This truth has always been valid within every organizational sector. But, for many, leaving the “repeat” life is too much of a risk.
Why do we continue to do the same thing over and over when it doesn’t move us forward? Perhaps, it keeps us comfortable. Maybe it helps us avoid risk. My guess is this, Secretly, we all want to fail.
It’s true. There’s something innate within us that avoids risk. We might label it as the flight or fight phenomenon. But in all reality, the majority of us choose failure because we don’t want to succeed. According to INC.,
“Fear of failure might be the easy hurdle and the one we all know, but many of us inadvertently sabotage our own success because we are scared of what will be different if we actually succeed.”
So, how do we change this habit? How do we actually forgo failure and choose to succeed?
EMBRACE PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION
I’m the first to admit that I’m type A.
I like my desk organized, my calendar color-coded, and my life in balance. It’s comforting to have everything in its place. All of us who are type A like our ducks in a row. However, this tendency towards perfection can keep us in the same rhythm for years.
If we’re not willing to adopt and adapt to chaos, then we’ll never get to that next stage of leadership. In order to leave perfection behind, we need to allow ourselves to reimagine our definition of leadership.
SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
If you want to travel smart then travel light. The same is true for business.
If you want to avoid failure, then you have to figure out what is keeping you from your goals. Yes. Many times failure occurs because we struggle with imposter syndrome, but other times, we struggle to keep our life conducive to success.
Steve Jobs said it best:
“As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.”
When Apple was under the leadership of Steve Jobs, their goal for simplicity went beyond branding–for many it addressed the need to be unencumbered as people.
It may seem counterintuitive, but simplicity is more than a deconstruction of clutter.
Simplicity is an archeological dig past the surface and to the heart of your product and your people.
STOP TRYING TO BE OPRAH
No one is like Oprah, well except for maybe Oprah. But she didn’t get there overnight.
Oprah became an incredible business icon because she put in the work. You can’t succeed in business without really trying. It takes hard work, embracing challenges, and breaking the patterns of consistency.
One of the biggest things that can keep you stuck in failure is your need to look the part without having to put in the work. We live in a selfie world and too many business leaders have fallen in love with this surface-orientated “look”. Let me tell you something shocking, no one is impressed with your look. Not unless it’s backed up with experience, education, or both.
Many of us remain stuck in failure because we are afraid of success. It’s easier to settle and sit back. We believe that if we stay the same then we won’t have to grow. Failure is safe, or so it seems.
Failure is far from safe. Yes. You will alway know where you’re going and what’s coming next, but the answer will always be the same: you’re going nowhere and you’re doing nothing. If you want to taste success then you must become repulsed with mediocrity. You have to be fed up with failure.
So, next time, you’re tempted to settle for failure, ask yourself, do you really want your legacy to be limited to a 3×5 flashcard? Expand your vision and live bigger than a paragraph.