How do you feel about the F word?

When you hear it does it make you cringe, or cause you to clutch your pearls?

Let’s be honest, the F word is packed with a lot of power. It can be used in love and hate. It is a word that is wrapped with so many negative connotations.

You are probably like most people, and you hate the word, but you are guilty of using it yourself.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

The moment you start to embrace failure, yes failure. Wait, what F word did you think I was talking about? When you embrace failure what you really doing is giving yourself more opportunities to succeed. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but embracing failure will help you to succeed in every area of your life.

I think I was in my early 30’s when I realized the word failure was not this ugly little bad word.  Because perspective is everything. When I realized there was some positive to be found in failure – I started embracing risk, and failure. Now I know that seems crazy, but I learned these three things:

  1. Start Small – the easiest way to embrace risk, and potential failure, is to start small. Learn to say yes to the little things in your life, even if there is a chance you will mess up or do not get the results you would like. Say yes to on-line dating, say yes to working on a new project at work, say yes to trying a new method for gaining customers. Start small and then you do not have a lot to risk. If it fails, it is not a big deal. But, if it works out, it gives you the encouragement you need to keep going and try something else even more significant.
  2. You must Develop the Habit of Taking Risks and Trying New Things – starting small also allows you to get into a habit of taking risks and trying new things. And that is a good thing. All too often, taking risk is viewed as a bad thing that prevents us from moving past our mistakes. It can make you vulnerable, and if something goes wrong, it could have a major impact on your life. But you should not let that stop you from taking a chance on new things.

Instead, make an effort to say yes more often and make it a new habit. It is not easy if you are a cautious person who likes to weigh the pros and cons and only commit to something new once you know you can do it. Breaking out of that habit is not easy, but you can do it by making an effort to say yes and take small risks on a regular basis. As you start to embrace risk and fail more often, you will also learn that failing is not the end of the world. In fact, it is not even a bad thing. If nothing else, failing means you are trying and sooner or later you will succeed. Failing teaches you what does not work.

After all, you do not want to get to the end of the road and regret not taking more risks. Too many people get comfortable with the way things are, and then they end up wondering what could have happened. By taking risk, you open yourself up to unforeseen events that could lead to wonderful experiences. Of course, you have no certain way of knowing how things will turn out, but by trying, you allow for more opportunities to enter your life. You will also end up with fewer regrets.

  1. Focus on What You are Learning – some people associate risk-taking with doing something randomly without a plan. That is not what I am talking about here. You should be preparing, planning, and learning as you go along so that you can overcome your fear of taking risks. Do not forget that with each failure there is always a lesson to be learned. By embracing failure and paying attention to that lesson, you will get good at whatever you have set out to do, and you will do it fast. The faster you fail, the faster you will learn, and thus the faster you will succeed. Start embracing those failures, take those risks, and reach your goals in record time.

What I want you to take away from this post is that it is not about messing up or failing when you take risk, and it do not work out.  Instead, it is about the opportunities you are exploring. The more you risk failing, the more opportunities you are saying yes to, and the more you are learning about what you can do. There is a lesson behind every risk, but most importantly, behind every failure. Insanity is doing the same thing expecting something difference. So, as you approach that opportunity again, you now know what does not work.

Success and opportunity do not randomly come knocking on your door. They come from taking action, believing in yourself, going after them and yes, being willing to fail, and take risks. This is how you learn and grow.