“I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.”
~George Burns

Failure is a tough word. We all agree that we’d rather do something we love than something we hate, but to fail at it? That can be a challenge.

We are blessed with the opportunity to meet many different people through our work, and to support them as they examine what they love, what they hate, and what their perspective is on failure. We’ve found that it is often the fear of failure that gets in the way of our clients trying and embracing what they would love to do.

It can be a challenge to move out of our comfort zone – what we know and are good at – and try something new, even when it is something we are drawn to. We stay with our success, even if we hate everything about it. A recent newspaper article featured a Wall Street manager who left his job and bought a farm. He shared how he spent years dreaming of working the land and raising livestock, while he dreaded the daily grind and pressures of his very successful and stressful banking career. He said that it had been a tough transition and that farming was not easy, but that his only regret was that he waited so long to go for his dream. Who do you know with a similar story? Most all of us know at least one person who finally got over their fear of failure and followed their passion.

So, how can we view failure differently? We recently introduced the concept of celebrating failure in a seminar. We quoted Calvin and Hobbes, in a cartoon in which Calvin is on his way to a birthday party, all dressed up, when he falls head first into a mud puddle. He stands up, covered with mud, throws out his arms, and shouts, “Ta Da!”

What a way to go through life – celebrating our failures and even ourselves in our most humiliating, uncomfortable situations. If we are able to accept and welcome failure in this way, we may be more likely to find ourselves engaged in things we love.

Take a good look at the actions and events that fill your days and notice what you love and what you hate. Now put more time, energy, and attention on what you love – even at the risk of failure. Ta Da!

Where can you move yourself on to something you love? How can you embrace shouting “Ta Da” if you should fail?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

To learn more about celebrating failure, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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