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Respecting Failure

Over the years, I have struggled with respecting myself. I placed a high value on being

“perfect;” and when I didn’t get something “right” I was quite angry with myself. I realize how ridiculous that was. In fact, now, I describe myself as a recovering perfectionist. This will not make sense to most of you; and I am ok with that. I was brought up to “do things right or don’t do them at all.” And because of this thought process, sometimes I would procrastinate and sometimes I wouldn’t do them at all because of the fear of failure. Fail is a 4-letter word. I hated it. I had to learn the tough lesson that I will never be perfect. Some of you will have no idea how someone could even have this thought. Again, that’s ok - others may understand, though not everyone needs to, but everyone needs to accept that others are different. And different is ok.

The greatest battle you wage against failure occurs on the inside, not the outside. John C. Maxwell

Looking back at the many years in school, from elementary to high school, I can see that if you were “different,” you were destined to struggle. People do not understand, let alone even accept that “different” is ok - people make fun of that. And today, with social media, there is absolutely no nice “social” in making someone feel “less” because they are “different.” Besides, who am I kidding, even those whom we consider adults today, make fun of each other because others are “different.” Somehow age automatically happens, but maturity is not nearly as automatic.

We all get to this point in our lives because of what we have done up to this point. Yet, we may expect that we should be able to make positive, if not even radical, changes in our achievements overnight. Growth does not happen overnight; and neither will our growth and positive change. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself some time to mold and expand into having those qualities that you imagine yourself to have. Life happens in each and every moment of our existence. Consider making growth a part of that life's existence.

Our thoughts determine our destiny. Our destiny determines our legacy.

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

The first person we must respect is ourselves. If we do not respect yourselves, how can we expect someone else to? We must respect who we are today, long before we can respect becoming the person whom we can only dream about for tomorrow.

There once was a person that moved into the small town and wanted to have the biggest store in town. There are 3 ways to accomplish this idea of having the biggest store in town. The first two ways of having the biggest store in town may be obvious. One is to build the biggest store in town. The other is to buy the biggest store in town. And the third way is to build a store and tear down any other that is larger. When this comes to people, it's the same principle. If you want to be a “big person,” you can tear down other people to make yourself appear bigger. Or you can add value to others and become the person that everyone looks up to. Are you acting or working to become the “bigger person,” or do you tear other people down so you may feel that you are bigger?

Over time, lots of time, I realized that I needed to relearn what failure really was.

Failure is the opportunity to learn what does not work. Many have heard that Thomas Edison “failed” 10,000 times in regards to what does not work in making a light bulb function. We don’t count him a failure; and yet we rarely are willing to try something 10,000 times in order to find success. We often lack that type of patience.

At Leadership Harbor we base our growth process around the ideas of Model-Focus-Equip. These are our foundational building blocks to grow ourselves, regardless of it being personally or professionally.


When considering our MODEL of who we are and who we are becoming, picture those people that you admire most and what specific characteristic about them do you appreciate most. You may have heard the phrase, “We are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time with.” This applies to the five people with whom we admire, think on, and respect the most.

We do not have to like everything about a person to appreciate specific qualities about them. We simply have to be intentional about the reason that we want to focus on them. What do you respect about them?

When we FOCUS on people and their admirable qualities, that is a form of paying respect to them. They could be a celebrity, as long as you understand the real part of them and not base your admiration on their actor/actress “character”. As part of this FOCUS, write down the specific qualities that make the most impact on you and how you view them in life.

The next step is to move into EQUIP. In building the MODEL of the personal characteristics that you want to emulate, you have now outlined specific FOCUS points that bring that person to the forefront of being a person of character with whom you admire and have great RESPECT. By being intentional about the people you desire to MODEL, and FOCUSing on incorporating those admirable traits, you begin to EQUIP yourself. Spend some time in solitude - find a quiet place to explore the qualities of those with whom you admire. I recently invested in a nice leather chair that has become my special “thinking” chair. Maybe you like to take a walk, or even find a quiet spot in nature, or on your porch/patio. Think on these qualities and characteristics. Consider how you “compare” but only in a way that finds you favorable. And by this, I don’t mean favorable versus the other person as if you were competing, but they do this well, and you do this well, too. Then consider, what might you do differently to improve yourself? Walk through those favorite qualities for each of the five people. What do you do well, and how might you improve and grow more and more into the person that you dream of becoming? Individually, we must own the model, focus, and methods of equipping ourselves to become the person we wish to become.

Our thoughts determine our destiny. Our destiny determines our legacy. “You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

I learned the lesson that it is ok, if not even necessary, to fail.

And, IF you are able to improve in the process, you can conquer almost anything. As I learn to fail more often, I also learn to RESPECT what failure can do for me, such that I find greater success. This may work for you as well.

What will you fail at today, so that you can be successful tomorrow?

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