Thankful for Failure

You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space. — Johnny Cash

I once heard someone say that a mistake is really only a mistake if you fail to learn from it. That means mistakes and failures can be some of our best teachers, our most important investments in time and energy. The lessons we learn from what doesn’t work well can be life-changing and affirming in the long run.

How we handle failure and what we make of our mistakes makes all the difference. That’s why I like Johnny Cash’s observation about failure. Lay that failure down and walk on it; use it as a bridge to a better tomorrow and a brighter future. Take from the experience what you can use to build a stronger foundation, to try a new approach, and to blaze a new trail.

Take from the experience only that which will prevent you from making the same mistake again. Most of all, don’t let fear of failure keep you from trying again, from moving on, and from taking calculated risks in the future. Believe that you are created for a purpose and never, ever give living into that reality.

Be thankful for failure. It may be that today’s mistake or disappointment will you into tomorrow’s opportunity and success.

Here’s a wonderful short video about famous “failures” from Enjoy!

Photo by rockinred1969. Thanks!

Good Words for a New Week

Free your heart from hatred — forgive. Free your mind from worries — most never happen. Live simply and appreciate what you have. Give more. Expect less.                   – Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey entered life eternal on July 16, 2012. I’ve been so busy that I just read about it today, two weeks later. I still remember reading his best-selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People shortly after it was published in 1989. As a young marketing professional I devoured his words eagerly with desire to be more effective, to advance in my field, and to be successful (as I then defined success).

Today I revisited that book and discovered that even in my eagerness and desire to learn, I really hadn’t understood Covey at all. At age 51, I read his words through a different lens, one tempered by experience and seasoned with a more mature (hopefully) spirituality. Instead of the “must-have” guide to career success I read in my early thirties, I now understand Covey was writing more about how to live life well. He believed that the way one conducted one’s business reflected the way one approached a life of principle, character, and generosity.

In addition to the quote above, here are a few other favorite insights:

How you treat the one reveals how you regard the many, because everyone is ultimately a one.

There’s no better way to inform and expand your mind on a regular basis than to get into the habit of reading good literature.

People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them.

Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.

Covey understood that vocational success is about much more than work and achievement; it is an outgrowth of how one chooses to approach life and serve others. I am grateful to Dr. Stephen Covey for his words, wisdom, and example, and I am thankful to return to his writing with fresh eyes and a deeper sense of purpose and meaning.

Photo by thephotographymuse used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!