Failing gracefully and being wise“Courage is grace under pressure.”

– Ernest Hemingway

Your LEAP Challenge for this week:

  1. Are you making up stuff about what it means for you to have failures?  Why?
  2. How can you bring more grace to the challenges you face every day?
  3. What are some failures you’ve had that are starting to build some wisdom?
  4. What new directions could you create by embracing failures in a state of grace?

Entrepreneurship is FULL of failures.

Small fails:

  • Arriving late to a very important meeting
  • Missing out on the early pricing for a pitch event or missing the deadline to apply to pitch
  • Forgetting to add the shipping charge into your cost analysis (maybe that’s not such a small fail)

Medium fails:

  • Forgetting to publish your blog post on time
  • Sending out the wrong email to your new group of customers
  • Losing the details of an order

Big fails:

  • Forgetting your new hire shows up…today
  • Leaving out the #1 key point of your pitch because you’re nervous
  • Having your site go down when you’re signing people up just before a deadline
  • Missing your launch date

And then there are Fail Whales (as in when Twitter would be completely unavailable due to too traffic causing the site to crash).  These may seem like desirable fails – caused by an amazing amount of demand.   Maybe they are – but probably don’t feel like it at the time.

The worst are the cumulative fails.

That’s when you have a few small fails, maybe a medium fail or two, and perhaps a large fail thrown in – all within a time frame that hasn’t been long enough for you to bounce back easily.  You know you will bounce back, but when these cumulative fails happen, the going is rough.

Why is that?  Why does it get rough, when each individual fail isn’t too bad.  Here’s the thing: when we have a few failures in a row we start to think we’re not cut out for this.  We make up ALL kinds of junk about what it means about us as leaders, entrepreneurs, and whether we’re offering anything of value.  Our mind just ratchets up more and more into high gear trying to make sense out of not getting it right.

When that happens, take a step back and just notice how busy your mind is about it all.  Wow!  Our minds are amazing.  And then JUST STOP!  Don’t do that.  You could just as easily, instead, make up something really great about all those accumulated failures.

That’s where grace comes in.

Grace is the ability to take any situation and just FLOW with it.  To flow over, around, and through it all.  To just be present in the midst of failures.  Think Grace.

Once you can grasp a state of grace in your mind, you can have a hope of getting wise from the series of failures you’ve experienced.  Wisdom comes when you start to live through enough of an experience to see the patterns that create and emanate from it. So that you start to recognize when things are lining up for a fall and when they’re not.  And you might still take the fall because there’s something to learn.  Something you can take and turn into a new twist on what you’re doing.

Then failures become your access through grace to a whole new perspective and create the possibility for new adventures, directions, and becoming wise.