Failure Is The Key To Success


Failure is Okay

This article is the 10th of a 14-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly.

The ability to keep going in the face of failure is critical to success when learning any new skill to include learning to manage your money. Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes with money every day. I’ve made tons in the past, and I continue to make them. Here are just a few examples:

I managed to take on over $185,000 in consumer debt before turning things around.

I tried (and failed) to repay my debt several times before stumbling on the debt snowball method, which worked for me.

Before I embraced the idea of mutual funds, real estate and CD’s I repeatedly poured money into stocks that tanked.

I could name dozens of other examples big and small. But the key is every time I realize I’ve made a financial mistake, I learn from it so I don’t repeat it in the future. Sometimes I do repeat my mistakes on a smaller scale only now I fail forward.

Building success from the ashes of failure

In Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell writes that there are seven key abilities that allow successful people to overcome failure instead of taking each setback personally. Successful people:

Reject rejection. Successful people don’t blame themselves when they fail. They take responsibility with the ability to respond for each setback, they don’t take the failure personally.

View failure as temporary. “People who personalize failure see a problem as a hole they’re permanently stuck in,” writes Maxwell,  “achievers see any predicament as temporary.”

View each failure as an isolated incident. Successful people don’t define themselves by individual failures. They recognize that each setback is a small part of the whole.

Have realistic expectations. This one is huge. Too many people start big projects such as paying off their debt with the unrealistic expectation that they’ll see immediate results. Success takes time. When you pursue anything worthwhile, there are going to be bumps along the way. And remember: The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Focus on strengths. This was one of the biggest lessons I took away from Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. When I interviewed Ferriss last year, I asked him to expound on this idea. He told me: “Focus on leveraging and amplifying your strengths, which allows you to multiply your results. Fix any fatal weaknesses to the extent that they prevent you from reaching your goals, keep in mind perfection isn’t the path to your objectives; finding ways to cater to your strengths is.”

Vary approaches. “Achievers are willing to vary their approaches to problems,” Maxwell writes. “That’s important in every walk of life, not just business.” If one approach doesn’t work for you, if it brings repeated failure, then try something else. Maxwell is saying that to fail forward, you must do what works for you, not necessarily what works for other people.

Bounce back. Finally, successful people are resilient. They don’t let one error keep them down. They learn from their mistakes and move on.

These seven points form a firm foundation for dealing with failure in all parts of life, including personal finance. As you pay off your debt, as you learn to invest, as you cut your spending, accept that some failure is inevitable. This does not mean you are not your mistakes. Own them, learn from them, and move on. (And remember: Good habits keep small mistakes manageable.)

It’s never too late to change direction, to start making smart choices. If you’re 40 and don’t have retirement savings, you can start saving tomorrow. If you’re 30 and staggering under the weight of credit card debt, you can cut up your cards and make a commitment to change direction. The wonder of the future is that it can be built upon the ashes of the past.

At 45, I can look at who I am and can connect the dots back through my life. Though I do not regret saving for retirement when I was younger, though I do not regret accumulating massive credit card debt, though I do not regret living a consumerist lifestyle, I do now see that these experiences made me the woman I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t be motivated to help others make smart money decisions. (And let’s be clear: I am not advocating that others repeat the mistakes I’ve made.)

Failure is okay

Embrace fear as a tool to serve you rather than a prison that holds you in bondage from enjoying life in all of its glory. Step out of your comfort zone, take on new adventures, mitigate risks and enjoy the journey, if you don’t experience the things you are scared of, if you don’t risk failure you will never succeed.

If you’ve made poor financial choices, don’t let them get you down. Don’t let them make you afraid to live again. Draw from your experience, fall down seven times, get up eight.

About lisachristiansencompanies

A U T H O R • I N N O V A T O R • E X P E R T Dr. Lisa Christiansen is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers, life coaches, and business consultants worldwide, building an impeccable record of client satisfaction in the process. A best selling author as well, Dr. Lisa Christiansen has written such inspirational titles as My Name Is Lisa; The Two Millimeter Shift; White Sheep, Blue Skies, Green Grass; 101 Great Ways To Enhance Your Career; and others, in which she sheds light on some of the biggest questions of self-empowerment and fulfillment. Among her most recent publications, Dr. Lisa Christiansen contributed to the book 100 Ways to Enhance Your Career, which features wisdom from other well-known figures in the self-help world, including Jack Canfield, John Gray, and Richard Carlson. In 100 Ways to Enhance Your Career, Dr. Lisa Christiansen shares a step-by-step process for increasing job satisfaction, gaining more from one’s career, building wealth, and taking control of one’s destiny. Aside from her numerous books, Dr. Lisa Christiansen hosts a wide variety of seminars and retreats, where she teaches her students the secret to unlocking their inner potential and living their dreams. Some of the popular events held by Dr. Lisa Christiansen include Mastering Your Wealth, Claim Your Future, and Design Your Destiny, all of which feature her intensive coaching and unique strategies of personal transformation. Her website has a wealth of additional information on her conferences, retreats, books, and other endeavors. Join the millions of people who have already revolutionized the quality of their lives. “You already know how to survive global changes in the economy, environment and political arena, now it's time to thrive and prosper at a level beyond what you ever thought was possible,” Christiansen said. “My seminar is about seizing the power within today. Press Summary: Creator of extraordinary lives, Lisa Christiansen has served as an advisor to leaders around the world for the last two decades. A recognized authority on the psychology of leadership, organizational turnaround and peak performance, Lisa has consulted Olympic athletes, world renowned musicians, Fortune 500 CEOs, psychologists, and world-class entertainers. Lisa’s strategies for achieving lasting results and fulfillment are regarded as the platinum standard in the coaching industry. Lisa captured the attention of heads of state and the U.S. Army. Christiansen has impacted the lives of millions of people from 30 countries. Lisa has been honored by Cambridge Society of Who’s Who as one of the Top Business Intellectuals in the World. Lisa has helped millions of people create extraordinary lives globally. Her expertise and guidance has enriched the lives of icons such as pop superstar Kelly Clarkson, Olympian Dara Torres, and superstar Patrick Dempsey.

Posted on August 20, 2012, in Wealth Creation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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