• Mark Monfort

Failure is not an option... but it should be mandatory

We've heard the term "failure is not an option" and most often it's associated with a win at all costs mentality. We hear it in the sporting and business worlds and it can be a really powerful motivational technique. I think, however, that strictly abiding by this ethos can be detrimental to growth in business and our personal lives. Failure is not the option we aim for but we need to embrace it more than we do and more than we see in a world full of success stories emblazoned across the social media landscape.

For me, there has been no greater teacher than failure in the startup world. Having worked in this space for 4 years and given the purview across the entirety that goes with running a business, I've seen the joyful highs and the dejected lows that stem from putting your heart and soul into something you believe in. The winning part was very easy during that time but there's no greater test of character and conviction than when you begin to lose. It would have been very easy to run away from our problems when they would arise but we gained so much more from sticking to the plan and being forced into finding new and ingenious workarounds to get things done. We never set out to fail but when it happens then that, I believe, is when the real test begins and we really truly discover who we are. In my other post 'Blessings in disguise', I even showed how a recent setback in my plans has now propelled me towards a path that is potentially greater than the one I was on. Failure, setbacks, losing... the keys to success lie within this space because, at least for me, I've never learnt more than when my back was up against the wall.

Here are some thoughts about failure that are important to remember.

  • Failure is not something taught in the classroom. It is learned through the game of life when you're smacked in the face with it.

  • Failure is the ultimate teacher. Some of the greatest lessons have only come from having tried and failed.

  • Failure is the best motivational tool. Never have I felt more adrenaline than when I was close to the precipice of a cliff edge. Regardless of whether I fell off or not mattered little, the surge of motivation was never high than at these moments.

  • Failure is not the worst thing in the world. If you have survived after failure then not only do you gain invaluable lessons about life and learn more about yourself but you also get an opportunity to turn things around.

  • Failure is inevitable. Knowing this we should embrace it when it comes and live fearlessly through the time that it will take us to experience it, armed with the knowledge that clarity is gained from coming out the other side.

  • Failure can come when we least expect it. The way we deal with the during and aftermath of those times can show us how well we mature and knowing that we can expect it again gives us ample opportunities to continue making ourselves better.

  • Failure can lead to success. It forces us to dig deep and uncover solutions that we may never have ever thought of and without which, we may never see better paths forward.

  • Failure should be your friend. It should not be loathed or hated. It is inevitable and it is waiting for us but the more we continue to evolve in our handling of it, the better we can see it as our ally.

There are many more things that are unique to each of our individual situations that we can think about in terms of failure so I'll leave those for you. I just hope you can see that rather than considering failure as non-optional, you can embrace the ethos that it should be mandatory, especially if we are to evolve and become better people tomorrow than we were yesterday or today.

Also, I'll leave you with this video of my favourite sportsperson, Michael Jordan, talking about failure and how it helped him to succeed. It's important to remember that the best have and continue to fail. So why shouldn't we.

Thoughts/questions/comments? Let me know and thanks for subscribing.

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