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May 3, 2012 / Dale Melchin

On Redeeming your Failures

“Success is Built Upon Failure.”
– John Morrow

Failure, no one likes to talk about it, we are scared to death of it. Even if you’ve come to a place in life where you know that no matter what, sometimes failure happens despite our best efforts. This concept hits home for me personally as well because for a number of years, I was not using my best potential because I was afraid to fail.

I’m going to be a little more transparent than perhaps I should be in making my point. And before I say any of this, I want to make it very, very clear, that I am not blaming anyone or anything for what has happened to me in my life other than myself. I am telling the following story to make a point of how far I have come and how far you in fact can go.

When I was a kid, I struggled academically. To compound it my parents weren’t the most mature folks on the planet. For them, discipline was behavior oriented and not character oriented. Often time discipline was often a function of their frustration with my bad behavior and it manifested as punishment, rather than learning from mistakes. I did not have the freedom to fail. I think in their defense they knew where their bad behavior got them and were trying with all their hearts to keep me from following their path, but they didn’t know how to express it because they lacked the maturity.

As a result of this negative conditioning, I didn’t take a lot of ownership of my life except for when I was pestered about it. I was sent to a couple of counselors and basically I was deemed special ed (which in playground talk meant that I was one of the stupid kids).

Now this kind of went on for several years until I came to Christ. Now, this isn’t intended to be my testimony, but after that point I got all kinds of plugged into positive resources. My paradigms completely shifted at that point. I was internally validated, I was able to look at myself in the mirror and see a good person and I began to view failure differently. I viewed it as a learning experience rather than an end.

Now, I did lose my way for sometime after I moved back from college. I reverted back to a reactive way of looking at things for a few years, but then my paradigms shifted back to the proactive and self aware perspective. I’m staying here this time.

The point of this story is to tell you that there are 3 things you need to understand about Failure.

Failure is never final unless you Quit

Early on in my life, I was in “quit” mode because of my conditioning. I was still emotionally dependent because I was growing up. However, after having that defining moment of encountering Christ I realized that I needed to take ownership in my life and drive for the results I wanted. I’m not saying that life was perfect after I took ownership life got better. I wish I would’ve applied it more broadly after that, but I got by.
Failure is less probable when you are focused and active

It is just like learning to walk. A baby pulls up on the couch, falls down, then pulls up walks, crashes, gets up walks crashes, gets up, walks crashes, gets up walks crashes and then gets up walks and runs all over the house. I’m not a parent, but I’m sure my parent friends can attest to this.

A baby doesn’t quit when it is learning to walk. He doesn’t know any better. And then eventually they are running all over the place.

This is the same attitude that we need to take. We need to act like babies when it comes to accomplishment. Just keep getting up. A baby might cry when they crash, but they don’t quit. If you give yourself enough time, you will eventually get it right.

There is also another aspect to this. The more active you are in life, the better you get to know yourself. The better you know yourself, it makes it easier to match yourself up when it comes to a career, a mate, or anything else and it increases the probability of success in life.

Failure is more probable when you are unfocused or inactive.

It’s understandable when you get knocked on your ass to stay down for a minute and figure out how you got knocked off the wagon. However, if you allow yourself to stay down, you’ll never get better because you aren’t putting yourself out there.

The other side of it is if you are unfocused but “busy” you will also increase the probability of failure. In my case I tried insurance back in 2011. It was the worst year of my life, and I’m not exaggerating. When I was doing insurance I was flailing like a drowning man. I didn’t know how to manage the shark infested waters of insurance. When I would try to present to clients they could smell the fear on me and go the other way, because I was desperate. So it goes both ways. Hyperactivity will destroy you, inactivity will also destroy you.

The Probability of Success increases substantially when you know yourself.

Some instruments are intuitive, some require training. We are the instruments of our own success. Therefore, we need to get to know ourselves and not be ashamed of it. We do this best when we become honest with ourselves without being unkind.

Bottom line, if you know how to use a tool effectively, you will use it successfully and reap the results that it was designed for.

The Probability of Success increases substantially you interface with a mode of life that meshes with your authentic self.

You don’t paint with a hammer. You don’t drive nails with a brush. You don’t go haul freight driving a computer. You drive nails with a hammer. You paint trim with a brush, you haul freight with a truck.

As for what you are supposed to do with you, I don’t know. You have to find that out yourself by reading, using tests and looking at the things you enjoy doing. I can’t speak for you, you have to figure yourself out.

Now I can speak for myself. I’m a restorer. I love fixing problems. That’s one of the reasons why I write is so I can help you fix problems… but I digress.

One of my favorite resources is Dan Miller his 48 Days program was instrumental in helping me get career path figured out. To find out more go to 48days.com

Another resource is the Strengthsfinder. It’s a comprehensive test that helps you figure out your strengths. It asks you a series of questions and it gives you a report based upon your responses your top five strengths. Now the thing is… YOU HAVE TO BE HONEST or else it doesn’t work. This authenticity thing stems to EVERYTHING!

To tie it all together, failure is not the end, know yourself, find work that fits with you or create work that fits with you, and stay busy. That way you can build a successful life out of whatever it is that you are doing.

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