We are only one week away from “Celebrate a Failure” Week, during which I instill emphasize the notion that there’s no perfection this side of heaven, and that failure is a necessary albeit sometimes painful part of success, purpose, and productivity. If you would like to learn more about failure or how to celebrate, you can read my past Memos on the subject.
LET'S CHANGE THE NAME.
I’ve had many people tell me, “Dr. Stanko, I just can’t celebrate my failures. They are still too painful, or they don’t glorify God!” Even though I’ve written about this principle and even shared some of my own failures, you still may struggle with this concept of celebrating failure, too. That is why I’m proposing another name for failure, a name that is hopefully easier to accept. If you can’t embrace “Celebrate a Failure" Week, how about “Celebrate Some Feedback" Week? It isn’t as catchy, but I believe it’s just as accurate.
You see, failure is simply feedback. The feedback tells you that you need to make an adjustment because you are off course. When you accept this feedback, then you can make the necessary changes that will put you back on track and help you succeed. The astronauts that went to moon had to make a course correction every few seconds. If they had rejected the feedback of where they were, they would and could have shot right past the moon. They accepted where they were, however, and then did what they had to do to correct the situation.
I believe that our PurposeQuest is similar to what those astronauts encountered. For example, you send your manuscript to a publisher and they reject it. You should simply see this as feedback. You can change your manuscript to make it more acceptable, try another publisher, or write a whole new manuscript. If you experienced a broken relationship, you can reflect on that feedback and set a course that will make your next relationship more lasting and meaningful. If you started a business and you ran out of money, you can start again more intelligently as you use the feedback from the first business.
Failure is what you make of it. It can be devastating if you accept it as such. If you receive it as feedback, however, you can use it to do a better job and plot a new or revised course forward. The choice is yours.
WHO’S YOUR COACH?
I was watching a interview of an American baseball star recently, and it showed this man taking practice swings in the batting cage. Right behind the batter was his hitting coach, watching his every swing and giving him feedback. He was getting feedback on every swing, using that feedback to improve. As the season progresses, that batter’s batting average will be posted every day for all the world to see. He will have to face that feedback and then meet with his coach every day to stay on course and be all that he can be.
Baseball players aren’t alone. Opera singers take lessons, and so do successful actors. Tennis players almost always have a coach who travels with them, helps them devise strategy, and provides immediate feedback on their performance. The most successful performers actually invite feedback—they encourage and even pay people to tell them where they are failing so they can improve. What about you? Who is your coach? What are you doing to encourage and process feedback?
I can answer the question in the title of this week's post by saying, "Yes, failure plays a practical role in life." It helps you be the best you that you can be. If you are serious about being a person of purpose, you must learn how to handle feedback, even the painful kind. If something isn’t working, you need to know that and learn what you can do to make it better.
Why is this so hard for spiritual people to grasp? Why do we feel that we have to do it alone? Why are we afraid to fail and learn from the failure? I leave you to come up with the answers to those questions in the coming week. As we approach “Celebrate Some Feedback” Week, you need to assess how much feedback you are prepared to handle. That will determine what success level you will achieve. As you prepare for August 6, I hope you have a good week of preparation.