Failure Is An Event…Not A Person

Jennifer Olney is the Founder of GingerConsulting, specializing in working with organizations to create brand strategy, graphic design and creative marketing programs. Additionally, Jennifer hosts the #bealeader™ community and weekly #bealeader™ chat exclusively on Twitter.  She also serves as a business mentor to individuals and organizations in need of leadership development and training.  Reach Jennifer on Twitter at @gingerconsult or on her website.

We all fail. There is it. Simple and plain, no one has ever not failed in life. No one.  It happens to all of us at some point in our journey. Not one of us can claim the moniker of perfection. We are imperfect in our own unique ways.

So I have to ask, why is it then that is so many of us take failure personally?  Why do we take it to heart and attach “failure” as a label to ourselves? Processes fail, ideas fail, but failure is not a person.  As I’ve said, no one is perfect, so why would we beat ourselves up for failures? Failures are a chance to learn what is not working, what isn’t “perfect” and change the game. If we didn’t failure how would know what success looks and feels like. Failure has to happen to find out where to adjust the sails and move us forward. Failure has to occur to move those toxic entities out of path so that we can see what we really need to bring us the life we were meant to live.  Failure is not to be feared, rather embraced. I know that may be hard for many hear because of conditioning that to fail is a negative. And yes, failing is a great disappointment. You never want to fail. It’s not the intention.  Our intentions are to be successful in our pursuits.  However, if we didn’t have those failures – how do we know where we are in the game of life?

I look back at all the failures I’ve experience with great joy…yes…great joy. Why? Because I learned such valuable lessons. If I hadn’t failed I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog. Failure has brought me great success in my life. I’m grateful for failure now. It has flipped my world upside down. If my business partners hadn’t been total idiots…ahem…failed to live up to their expectations…that’s a better way to state that…then I wouldn’t have the successful clients and be blessed with such amazing success I have today. See how that works?  To make that statement took me a long time to come around to this mindset. I would dwell on failure as a personal failing of myself, but I realized long ago, if you look at the failure as a chance to learn and move forward. You take failure as a moment of gratitude.  You have two choices, spend time seeing failure as this depressing event or you can look at it as a wonderful gift that you have been given to see that you were sparred a lot of heartache and pain to be shown a better way.  Our perception of failure and attitude of how we address the events makes the difference.

We are not failures, we not perfect either. We are people who fail with great success and see the rewards that failures bring to our lives.

Failure is just an event in life…it doesn’t define us.



8 Responses to Failure Is An Event…Not A Person

  1. Spot on, my friend:) I see “failure” or “mistake” (note the singular…I say make mistakes, but make a particular mistake only once. Learn from it, don’t repeat it:) as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sometimes it’s painful, “unfair”, debilitating and unjust. But when viewed from a bigger perspective (which usually means allowing space and time to intervene, to allow for a more grounded perspective), there is always a lesson to be learned, regardless of how painful the experience might have been. Great post GemJen, and thanks Jane! Cheers! Kaarina

  2. Thanks, Kaarina. There is always a lesson to learn from our failure. We have to see the bigger picture, gain the perspective of these events and not label ourselves as the event rather see it as part of the experience that we have on our journey of life. You make a great point on mistakes - we generally make those mistakes once and never repeat. Time and space gives us the ability to separate the pain and move forward. Wonderful points, Kaarina. Always love your take on this lesson. Thank you so much, my friend.

  3. Jen, I have found failure to be the greatest teacher. It keeps us humble. It teaches us that other cosmic and spiritual forces are at work in our life. It teaches us to slow down and pay attention to the really important things.

    Like you I believe the important thing is to separate the failure from the person. You may fail, but YOU are not a failure.

    • Thanks, Dan. Great comment. It does teach us to slow down - I like that. We find ourselves looking what is important and look at the lessons in the experience. We have to separate ourselves from experience and the person. You can fail, succeed, but you are the same. Thank you so much.

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    • Interesting point, Patrick. I see each failure is an event, one at a time, looking at each experience in the journey. Failure in perspective is the right attitude, not letting the failure derail you, rather, look at each failure as a way to grow and take the lesson.

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