COLUMN: Strickely Speaking: Chasing failure

This weekend, my Minden High School class of 1983 will celebrate our 40 year reunion together.  While I look forward to seeing classmates and friends that I have not seen in many years, I also go back with some mixed emotions.  I was blessed to grow up in Minden with some great friends and outstanding people.  I look back on four state championships while we were in high school (one in football and three in baseball) with some terrific memories shared with great teammates.  There’s a lot to go back to, celebrate, and remember together.

However, going back also brings back regrets for me too.  Regrets of opportunities not pursued, choices made/not made, and challenges not taken.  My identity issues and associated fear of failure limited what I pursued and essentially put a cap on my potential and impact at that time.  To some degree, those decisions impacted my future as well.  I look back and wonder what I was thinking at the time, but I also realize a teenager is going to struggle with decisions and challenges.  The problem is that we must live with these decisions and choices regardless, but they don’t define us.  

Maybe you look back with regrets too or maybe you are facing some big decisions that are uncertain.  Either way, failure is an event, not your nor my identity.  We should never make decisions or avoid challenging opportunities over a fear of failure.  Sure, you and I may fail, but that doesn’t equate to failures.  We merely failed at an attempt.  It’s not our identity. 

As I seek a second career in the consulting arena (more coaching and advising), I approach it with a very different mindset.  I may never reach the level of impact and influence that I desire to have with my new business.  I may not sell the number of books I hope to sell.  However, I’m going to pursue those lofty goals and push myself to the point of failure.  It’s only at that point that we find our true potential.  I don’t fear failure, but rather, I am chasing after it.  I am going to push the limit on what I can do for others in the areas of leadership development, personal growth, and teambuilding so that others can create better work environments, better communities, and better organizations to improve lives.

What is it that you would like to pursue but have put it off for too long?  What would you like to attempt but have avoided it because the outcome is uncertain, or you are a little afraid of failing?  Don’t put it off any longer.  Prepare as you need to, but don’t miss another day of pursuing what’s important to you.  Just get started.  Take that first step and realize it’s ok to fail.  Let’s make the most of each day and make a difference.  Join me in chasing failure!