I was hoping the title would catch you off guard: What is the Failure Industry? Is there even such a thing?
Well, believe it or not, every Industry is a Failure Industry. Why is that? Because at some point, someone, somewhere, failed while trying to succeed in their chosen Industry. While some took it lying down, others stood back up and made those industries what they are today – thriving sections of our current commercial culture.
The Big Red ‘F’
Ever since we were in grade-school, it’s been drilled into our heads that a big fat ‘F’ written in red meant failure. That meant the opportunity was gone – we had failed with that specific test or objective.
But what if – and hear me out on this – what if each one of us had the power to define failure for ourselves? What if the word didn’t exist in the dictionary; what if ‘A’ was written on our papers instead, and that meant we hadn’t passed the test?
How would things be different? Would they be different?
“Do not judge me by my successes; judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”Nelson Mandela
What if we lived in a world where our failures were highlighted and how that led to our success? What if the sweat and tears were made available for all the world to see? Would it be shameful, or something to brag about?
Instead of, “Mr. X Executive received his MBA and became the CEO of his own company,” it read, “Mr. X Executive spent countless hours and many sleepless nights getting his MBA and, through countless hours of failed self-promotion, became the CEO of his own company.” Would that be so shameful? Or would it be relatable? Would it be inspiring to those following in the footsteps of giants?
Failure is a Band-aid
Failure is a band-aid. We slap on the label when we feel we’ve made a lesser choice or investment, and then, we’re afraid to rip it off in fear that we’ll get hurt in the same spot twice.
I encourage you to rip off the band-aid, and then, redefine what failure means to you and you alone. If you were responsible for submitting the definition to the dictionary, what would that look like?
I’ve made up this acronym on the fly. Failure: Forming An Insecurity – Lies – Up, Re-examine, Excel
Because in our society, that’s what failure is good it – making us feel insecure. But we have to realize, failure does not define us. It might make us feel insecure, but the thoughts that lead to that insecurity are all lies. “If I do it again, I’ll just fail again.” “If I try something new, I’ll probably fail at that too.”
It’s all lies. In response, we need to get up, re-examine, and excel.
Write Your Own Failure Biography
You have succeeded in your life, and yes, you have failed at things. We all have. But I encourage you to write your own ‘Failure biography’ – what would that look like? You can even make up a story about what that biography would look like in five years with something you haven’t yet achieved; define what that failure biography will look like and how it will lead to you being successful.
If we wrote a failure biography with every goal we set, would we react to failure differently? I know I would. I could get back up, say, “This is just part of my failure biography,” and keep adding to it until I got to the end – the successful part where I’ve achieved my goal.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”Michael Jordan
How will you succeed in your failure Industry? Define failure for yourself. Rip off the band-aid. Write your own failure biography. Fail your way to success. Profit.