There isn’t one human being on the face of this planet who has never failed on an epic scale!
Failure and the fear of failure are for real! The news and social media posts magnify glorified images of the ones who have “made it” the ones with the “millions” the ones with the good looks and the glamour, the ones who are smart and esteemed as successful. We may know this is true, but how often do you and I fall into the comparison trap while touting someone else’s highlight reel. This is a failure in itself – a failure to realize that behind the edited image or make-up, fit figure or 7-figure success story on a screen – that person you follow lies a series of formidable failures in their wake. What is success and who defines it anyway? Behind every success are a group of people we never see or hear about on Social Media or the news – the team behind the “high flying influencer”, a cheerleader and coach behind the world-class athlete. There is an investor behind those millionaires, or hours of blood, sweat, and tears behind the incredible talent of that highly skilled entrepreneur or artist!
I’m Nicolas Fourie, and I have hit the wall of failure very hard, multiple times over. I don’t consider myself a massive success or have a “claim to fame” like so many others, I am one of those still on my journey from fumbling, embarrassing, crushing failures! Some of these were circumstances, others setbacks, still, others were failures that would make a steel-faced grown man weep!
I lost my father to leukemia at the young age of 7years old. This crushed me and to this day I have not fully recovered from this life-altering event! The loss of my father wounded me and left me feeling insecure, isolated, crawling in my skin like the well-known Linkin Park song.
My insecurity led to me being isolated, laughed at and exploited, verbally bullied, and rejected throughout high school. I had few solid father figures or mentors to look up to. This insecurity led to blunders that would make me blush, soul-sucking failures so frustrating I would swear at myself in the mirror! Brutal rejections and let-downs paralyzed me from moving forward. However, I found an outlet in art, music, and prayer. My dear mother supported me through grueling storms of life and is an incredible kind-hearted woman of faith! My brother and close friends also encouraged me a lot while growing up.
Later in life, I even found some mentors along the way! I discovered lessons, tools, and tactics through every failure. Whether I butchered an artwork or design, suffered financial loss, exploitation, or facing trolls who tried to put me down through verbal abuse – I faced my failures! Even dealing with 23years of 72hour long debilitating, painful, blinding migraines taught me how I could improve my health, breathe deeply and change my diet. I recorded my relapses and failures and am working on continual personal development.
The plan I created was one of continual work – educating myself and sharing my failures with others, finding solace in prayer and reading. Success is not a once-off thing that just happens, past successes may not help me in the future, I have to keep moving forward and rise 7 times every time I fall. The book “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy (video below) had a significant effect on my life.
I learned that by compounding push-ups or setting alarms every hour or half-hour just to remind me to drink a glass of water – these small improvements pay in the long-term and changed my mindset so that I can be found faithful in bigger things. World-class athletes track everything. I started practicing tracking in my own life. Simply take a small notepad and track what time you went to bed, what time you woke up failures and successes, even the number of pushups you did today, or if you had any exercise. You will start to see a dramatic transformation in your life by small incremental good habits!
The conflict I experience is that no matter how much I attempt to side-step failure, it is bound to occur because I have yet to learn something! When tempted to ruminate over my blunders, swear at myself in the mirror (which I refuse to do anymore by the way), or feel despondent, I can resist this and seek help where help is to be found! I can acknowledge my errors and learn smart techniques to do things better next time around. I have a graphic graveyard of logos that clients just never picked, some of which are better than the ones they selected. Many times we see only the result of something, but there is a foundation underlying success that was perfected through learning from failure upon failure.
Achievements in design or business are just by-products of many failed attempts, missing the mark, taking aim again, and failing forward towards transformation! Don’t be discouraged by your impending failures, face them, embrace them, and pivot! You are not defined by your past failures! You can practice catching yourself ruminating over your failures and change the course of your thoughts to a positive mindset. What helped me when I caught myself ruminating over a depressing disposition was to find a sound-proof zone. For me, this was my car. I took my journal with me and wrote down my tasks, goals, and thoughts. I also recorded a voice note to myself. The main thing is to get out of your head – get out of that downward spiral of negative thoughts which revolve around your failures or dire circumstances! Change the way you think and failure can lead to triumph!
Can you share an epic fail you experienced? I’d like to know what you learned from that failure and how you moved forward from it! Remember that mastery takes time so take it easy on yourself! You are on the way to discover the real you on the other side of failure!👊