How failure can create success

Posted on May 11, 2011


failure_can_create_successWe’ve all experienced failures in our life. What do you do when faced with failure?

I recently went through some rather involved and VERY painful dental surgery. It involved tooth extraction and multiple bone grafts. Unfortunately the bone grafts didn’t work, so it was all for naught.

The procedure was a failure, but the experience taught me a lot about the keys to success.

Here is my take on the keys to success:

1. Visualizing can be very powerful.

As I was sitting in the dentist chair, hearing that awful drill sound and still feeling a lot of pain, in spite of copious amounts of novocain. I visualized myself on the beach in Kiawah, South Carolina (one of my favorite vacation places.) I was riding a bike, looking at the sunrise over the water. Okay, so I still felt the pain, but the vision was very clear.

Success lesson learned:  I can visualize what I want. This is helpful when I’m trying to think of my next career move.

2. Finding alternatives can be fun.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not much of a cook. Sure, I eat healthy, but I tend to eat the same things day after day. After my surgery, I was on a soft food diet. Yuck, talk about unappealing. I’m used to eating lots of fruit, vegetables and nuts.

I had to be creative in thinking of soft, healthy food. I had a blast wandering through the local food store, Whole Foods, and picking out some new things to try. I’ve become a fan of steel-cut oatmeal and organic brown rice. (Not eaten together mind you.)

Success lesson learned:  I’ve been frustrated with my job search. I now realize that I need to mix things up a bit and try some new approaches. Who knows, I may have fun doing this!

3. Letting go can be freeing.

This whole process started last year, when I was accidentally hit in the face by a kayak. For an entire year, I’ve had to endure painful bone grafts and an uncomfortabled denture. There was nothing I could do about this. So, I told myself that it doesn’t make sense to get upset and angry, since it does no good.

Success lesson learned:  Sure I’m frustrated and anxious about my next career move. By viewing this situation as an opportunity to do what I really want to do, I can make this fun and interesting.

4. Being human is normal.

This may sound obvious, but it wasn’t to me. The temporary bridge was so painful to wear, so I only wore it when I went out in public. I avoided going out in public unless I absolutely had to.

I could have been strong and noble and worked through the pain, but I couldn’t do it. Do I feel guilty? No. Do I wish I had been stronger? Well, yes but I’m not dwelling on this. What happened, happened.

Success lesson learned:  Sometimes the path of least resistance is the only way to get something done.

What lessons have your failures taught you?

Photo is courtesy of x86x86’s Flickr photo stream under Creative Commons Licensing.

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Posted in: business