What is it? Everyone has their own definition for ‘failure‘. For a Salesman, failure may mean not meeting a sales quota, for a criminal it may mean getting caught by law enforcement, a parent of a child who runs away from home may consider their self as a failure, a writer with few book sales, a 50+ year old who has not married, the attorney who has not become a Partner, a doctor with a dead patient due to a bad decision, the list can continue forever. Ultimately, you, the individual decide what is a failure and what is a disappointment. There is a difference and how you handle not getting your desired outcome will determine what chain of events will follow.
Successful people maintain their composure in the face of “failure” and determine what went wrong and how they can do better, how they can correct the ‘failure’. Smart people learn from a failure so that either they don’t repeat the same mistake or so that they can repeat the task with a better outcome. Shrewd people analyze the negative outcome; they study it and make a decision. Either they will try again and succeed or they determine that another attempt is not worth the energy. The shrewd, the wise, the smart and the successful turn a failure into a learning experience; they accept the fact that they did not get the desired outcome, they analyze and study, they research until they are extremely knowledgable in a particular area and then they make something happen.
Donald Trump is the first person who comes to my mind as an excellent example of an expert handling of failures and disappointments. When Mr. Trump saw that a business venture was not going as planned, he consulted his attorneys, utilized the proper laws, filed bankruptcy and continued on with his business ventures. He is an expert in utilizing tax laws to his benefit, thus Donald Trump is a successful business man and in spite of his multiple bankruptcies, Trump is a millionaire.
Life coach and writer Iyanla Vanzant accepted an advance for a book. Her daughter’s death and her grief and depression following the death led to a publisher’s deadline with no finished product; no book and the money spent. The legal repercussions included a suit against Ms. Vanzant for breach of a contract, the publisher’s withholding royalty payments for previous books written and sold, confiscation of her previous works and its royalties and finally no income at all for Iyanla Vanzant. She filed bankruptcy.
Ms. Vanzant learned the importance of protecting one’s intellectual property, she now understand her responsibility in copyrighting all of her work. Never again will someone make a profit off of her work or creations and leave her in a situation where che cannot make a living. The bankruptcy may have been a failure but she has learned from that experience and shares with others the importance of having your own copyright, ISBN, and the responsibility you must take in protecting your creations. We are all protected by intellectual property laws but you must take responsibility and do what must be done to enjoy the protection. Now she is helping others as a Life Coach with Fix My Life.
What Iyanla Vanzant did not do is cry, run to Twitter and post a lot of nasty Tweets. She did not whine or turn to drugs in her depression. She could have blamed her publisher for her financial demise, stayed bankrupted and become a has-been. Instead Ms. Vanzant made a comeback and through the help of Oprah Winfrey she started all over with an ocean of experience and knowledge from her previous shows and published works. She don’t mind talking about the stressful times in her life when she was faced with these challenges and she admits that had she maintained ownership of all the stuff she created and sold years ago, she would have never been financially dependent on her book publisher.
Successful people do not fear failure; in fact truly successful people are truly fearful because they have the wisdom to keep God in their life and always acknowledge his presence, his power and his authority.
Successful people are not afraid or ashamed of a failure. Instead, they treat a failure as if it is a lesson: they do their homework, learn from it and move on. The gracious successful person will share their knowledge from the lesson learned with someone who will benefit from that knowledge.
Successful people stay in the Green Lane