Will failure define you or propel you?

The Internet is full of people talking about failure. Whereas some use the term fail often or even fail more, others seem to resent the term failure as some kind of weakness or a sign people accept that it is okay to fail.

Now although I understand where both sides are coming from I feel the focus is in the wrong area. I have personally experienced both sides of this coin first hand when working around the world.

In my career, I worked for American companies on global teams and handled the Middle East region where the thinking around failure was simply a learning process, a stepping stone if, and this is the main point; if you acquired experience or bounced back from failure stronger. People admired this or celebrated your achievement and strength. In the UK however, things are very different.

In the UK people get very nervous if you say you had any failure in your career. Whether this was a business or a position you may have held, it is shunned and brushed under the carpet as if that experience defines you as a person, as in you are a failure! This is regardless of what you achieved after that experience.

I have, like everyone, had very dark moments in my personal and professional life and although they were frightening and even life-threatening at times I can tell you the person I came out the other side of each one of these moments is a stronger, more knowledgeable and experienced individual. These moments are not something you can learn on a course or in a book you have to go through them to gain experience that you have to use in the next part of your life. Failure is a single moment, something that is temporary if you have the right attitude or defeat if you allow it.

And this really is the key for me regarding failure, it is not whether a failure is something that should be shunned, hidden or even celebrated. It is the action that follows failure that is what defines us, it is what we do with that experience, hurt and even pain after a failure that is where the whole discussion should be focused. Because after failure, you have a choice to either believe you have a limit of what you can achieve in this life, or you learn from the experience and use it to propel yourself to greatness!

Enjoy the highs, Learn from the lows and everything will be alright.

It is very easy to get carried away when things are going well. You really should celebrate the highs you have in your life or career. Be proud of what you have achieved no matter how big or small that achievement may be. But be careful not to fall into the simple trap of believing you have ‘arrived.’ It’s very easy to do and we have all been in the situation where we found ourselves falling flat on our faces at some point, by believing what’s being said around us. But there is a way to live through this.

A person I really respect once pulled me to his office and sat me down. He said, “You are doing really well.” My smile had already begun to grow across my face, even before he said, “If you continue on the path you are you will do very well in your career.” By this time my head was probably so big I was in danger of not being able to exit the office. But the man gave me a word of advice that has kept me with my feet on the ground all my life, well most of it, I am human!

He told me that I should always celebrate my accomplishments but keep this piece of information in my mind at all times, or face the depths of despair when things go wrong. Because, he said, they will go wrong. I was quite young and have to say at this point I was a little baffled. He sat down next to me and said, “Always remember, the highs are never that high in your life and the lows are never that low.”

I was sat intently listening to this man who was a true role model and someone I have always had so much respect for. His name is Richard Newman and he was my first real boss. He continued, “If you can work hard, enjoy the highs, learn from the lows but always look to the best in whatever you do in your life to see what you still need to do to improve, you will be alright.” Wonderful advice from a great man. Has anyone ever given you advice that has stuck with you throughout the years?

Don’t be a victim of history, Be a master of your destiny.

In life there is no single human being that doesn’t face some kind of negative feelings or incidents that set them back. This is only natural and we know that life cannot always be on one single level, be it good or bad. Otherwise how would we appreciate the good things? 

What we need to do in our lives though is not punishing ourselves because something didn’t go the way we wanted. We have to search for the good side of every situation, no matter how difficult that may be. We cannot live our live by the negative ABC’s, which are Anger, Betrayal and Criticism. If we do we only continue adding to the negativity that a certain incident has brought us.

We know that when we look back on things in our lives we often remember the hard times as the most defining moments we have faced. But we also see where the opportunities arose after the incident that created happiness, joy or love. It is in these moments of personal crises that we actually become the person we are destined to be and act in a way that really benefits us as individuals. Other times we are often so concerned with what another individual or group of people think that our desires and ambitions are left on the back burner. Why?

If there are people around you that are not helping you to reach a happier more fulfilling life then you have to do something to change that situation, no matter how difficult that may be. We cannot live a life full of guilt simply because we want to do the things that make us happy. You need to go to bed feeling grateful for what you have and wake up in the morning inspired and excited about what you are going to be doing.

The worst situation to be living in is when you are not doing what you want because of things that have happened to you in the past. These moments were in your life to teach you a lesson or create a new path of opportunity, not for you to be carrying them around with you for the rest of your life. Look back, learn from what happened and then move forward towards a destiny of wealth, happiness and love that you know you want and what is more important is yours for the taking. Don’t be a victim of your history, be a master of your destiny.

A positive outlook can change the world

How many times when you are online these days do you see negative comments or people? Attacks or just what seem to be either depressed lonely people or someone just looking for attention. Unfortunately they rarely get the kind of attention they crave and often seem to attract the worse kind of people. We live in a world where people seem to feel they can attack, abuse and violate people and the online space with crude, obscene and downright offensive comments. These people often sit behind a computer or mobile screen thinking they are free to do as they please. They act as though normal laws and common decency do not apply, but they are wrong.

Recently a professional footballer collapsed and almost died on the pitch. His name was Fabrice Muamba, a 23-year-old man. Most of the world was shocked and flooded the social networks with messages of hope, prayer and goodwill. Like most people my thoughts were immediately to his family and friends. Even the rival fans in the stadium stood and cheered his name as doctors and medical staff fought for his life on the pitch. It was later noted that his heart stopped for a considerable time but due to his fitness and the fact he has been playing football for over 40 minutes meant blood was still flowing to his vital organs. Fortunately Fabrice Muamba did survive and has started the long road to recovery which is wonderful news for him, his family, his friends and everyone who sent positive feelings his way. But some of the things that came out online were simply unforgivable.

One person was arrested and has been charged for racial abuse about the incident. Apparently the man was sending spurious messages on Twitter but people did not accept this. Not just football fans but everyone. There is a stop racism campaign in football across the world but unless society changes there is little help this problem will be left out of sporting venues. But for me the reason this was stopped, even if it is only one single person spouting vile negative comments, was that the flood of positivity overwhelmed the negative.

I deal with global brands online and digital strategies have to include attacks from unhappy customers, people who do not like what the brand stands for (Be it real or imaginary) and simple attacks for attacks sake. We always help the client face these issues head on and answer them all. For the most part an unhappy customer will offer some valuable learning’s about the customer interaction, which they have seen. Something you rarely used to see on a marketing report before. For the people who are attacking the brand you have a chance to educate them on the real story behind the brand. Some will work and some will not but for the most part people appreciate the time taken to address their point of view. As for the ‘haters’ well there is only so much you can do and if they do not get or allow you to put your point of view across then they probably never will, so you just have to move on.

When it comes to your own life understand that when you are positive you will attract a positive world. You do not have to believe in the law of attraction to know the days you woke up in a bad mood and stormed out the house unhappy rarely improved greatly for you. No matter what is happening in your life I always believe there is a positive slant to what is happening, even if you can’t see it straight away. I know personally that some of the most trying and difficult times of my life turned out to be the most important and inspirational moments that I could have ever dreamed of. I have faced death more than once, one case I was alone in a foreign country and knew no one, as I had just moved to Kuwait on business.

The positive energy that I felt from certain people, complete strangers at the time, was something that changed my complete outlook on the world. Guardian angels who spared time to just give a positive word or smile. I still see their faces now and trust me, I have a awful memory. When I came through that incident I embraced life with a different outlook, tried to be positive at every moment and ensure that by the time I do die the life that flashes before my eyes will be a film worth watching.

Try to be positive in your day ahead; you never know whose world you are going to change or save. The world needs you to be positive but more importantly YOU need you to be positive because when you live with a positive outlook on life and look for the positive in what is in front of you, no matter how difficult that may seem, your life will be very different and together we can make this word a better place.

In our darkest moments we are the strength that lights our path

We have all faced down the demons of a certain situation in our lives. Whether those moments were personal, financial, professional, abuse or any other terrible incident that scars our soul. When we think back to that moment it all feels so real, shocking and sickening that we sense a closeness through the fabric of time and space that links you to that event, or like most people events. But to grow you must visit these places every now and again.

It is within these moments of your life, as harsh as they may be, we find out the real person we are. An inner strength that, for the most part of the day, seems as distant as you have now made some of these events in your mind. It is not the pain that I am saying you should focus on, that would just be counter productive. The moment I mean you to focus on is that moment just afterwards, when the tears stopped, the pain eased and we looked at the road ahead with a fire burning inside desperate to rise again from whatever heel you were in. It is that moment that is the real you, the one that can and did pull you through anything.

It is in those moments, however brief, do we have so much clarity in what we want, what we can do and what we will do, it is an enlightened moment that if you were to look from the outside of yourself would see a human being ready to take on anything. Look where you are now. No matter how successful or poorly you believe your current situation is, you know that you have faced worse moments and overcome them. And when you look back at that moment you see a different person, one that was not ready for the challenges you face today. I am a firm believer that everything you have gone through has given you the tools to overcome any obstacle that is in your path today, or in the future. All you have to do is believe in yourself, just as you did before.

Carrying a grudge will only make the journey ahead harder

I remember reading a quote on online once that read, “Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.” I love this quote and think it is extremely powerful. It also made me think about how difficult it is in life without the extra burden of carrying such baggage with you.

We have all been upset, betrayed, lied to and more by one person or another throughout our lives. But one thing you must not do is keep that anger inside you or drag it along like an anchor at the bottom of the sea catching on every little rock or boulder, as it will only slow you down. Once the initial pain subsides you must review the other persons side of what happened and then see where you went wrong in the situation or what you could have done differently.

You see, nice that pain subsides, and it will, you will be able to look at every aspect with a clear mind, as though you are watching it happen to someone else. Only then can you really understand or take lessons out of that experience. This is something you must do. You cannot put this away, push it deep within or just forget it. Trust me, I know from personal experience that sooner or later you will have top face this and it’s better to do it earlier. Because once you do go through the painful process of picking through the incident, or incidents, the sooner you can dump that baggage like garbage it is.

There is no doubt in my mind that once you do this, once you go through the process of analyzing both, the other persons acts and your own experiences, will you feel a sense of accomplishment as you overcome that feeling. Not only overcome that helpless and demoralizing feeling but also you will come out stronger as a person than you have ever been.

You will look back on that time and know that was the time that actually propelled you down the road to where you are know rather than slowing you down. Life is a journey and it is fraught with painful lessons and obstacles along the way, it is best you don’t bring your own obstacles or luggage with you, just take the lessons and move on. Let you past make you better, not bitter.

It is the courage to continue that counts

Sometimes in life things can look very bleak indeed. Whether it is on the macro level of global politics, war, famine and so on; or it is on the micro level about what we are facing as individuals like financial, career and love they are all obstacles that could very easily give us an excuse to stop.

Well that would be the easy option for sure, but like the famous quote from Winston Churchill says, “Success in not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Because, there is not a single person on this world that doesn’t have at least one, of the above issues, facing them at any one point in life. It all comes down to how we manage that horrible feeling of despair when we do.

Yes it can be a dark and frightening road when the lights suddenly go out on a relationship or your bank account seems to look like a speedometer in a car rapidly going the wrong way. But retreating back into your comfort zone is not going to change the situation. It would be nice to be able to hide from a problem so it goes away, but the truth is it is going to be waiting for you once you open your eyes as we can all vouch for in our lives.

Try not to be too hard on yourself when you face an issue in your life, most experiences in life, in the long run, will make you a better and stronger person so focus on what has happened, what this means to you in the long run and then see the way out by taking the single first step towards the answer. It may take a hundred steps to get there, but at least you will be moving and that is the ultimate difference between someone who is lost and someone who is on the journey of life, faced a bump or two and is making the best out of their life, regardless what happens along the way. Having that courage to take the fist step is what will bring you success and happiness in everything you do.

 

Have the confidence to walk through any negativity

No matter what you do in life, personal or professional, there will be people who have negative thoughts or actions towards you. Most of the time it is not even something conscious by them, but rather something that just stems from their personality or situation they are in at the time. The confidence you have in yourself will be half the battle, your actions in putting your plan into action, will do the rest.

Self doubt is one of the main reasons for failure in life. There are, of course, many situations that are just impossible to avoid, such as the recent financial crises, but confidence in yourself can help you overcome anything that comes in your path. You can, for example, imagine your confidence being like your health, if you do not exercise and eat correctly your health will suffer.

It is the same thing with confidence, it’s a constant process of building up your self esteem, giving yourself a pat on the back and making sure, on top of the big goals you have, have smaller goals that are attainable and reward yourself along the way. This helps immensely in gaining the momentum you need to succeed.

Very soon you will realize that you don’t even see or feel the negativity any more, because your focus is on the positive aspects of what you are doing and where you are going. So as you walk forward today, do so with confidence; and nothing will get in your way.

Risk? What if you fail? Ah! But what if you don’t?

Every single day we are faced with choices in our lives. Decisions that fork in the road. One is safe, although nothing is certain in life, you can pretty much guarantee where you are going to end up whilst the other is clouded in mystery and possibility. The second route scares us, makes us doubt every aspect of the person we are and often ensures we take the safer route. But why?

Fear is the main reason. Losing what you have, things not working out and the thought that all you tried just failed to materialize the way you expected it. I have been down the mystery path many times, most of which have rarely been what I expected or planned for. None, so far, have been the path to my dreams. Or so I thought. Because I have always thought that the path I walk must be the way I see it for things to work out the way I wanted. When in fact the troubled paths I have walked throughout my years have each carved a new aspect to the person I am, and looking back I can see the path very clearly.

So plan all you want but never fear things not working out the way you imagined. Life will have a way of giving you the lessons you need rather than the ones you think you should experience. But most importantly, never fear the risky path, it may very well not be what you are expecting, it may well give you the feeling that you made a mistake. But I am a firm believer that every experience you have along the way will get you a better person, one way or another. What you will achieve from taking a risk every now and then is not about success in the materialistic view, but rather what you feel inside of yourself, and that alone, is worth a risk.

Leave behind the baggage of your past

We often walk through life dragging every problem around like luggage. I know I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion. Everyone has problems and everyone will come against people that see the world in a different way. Although sometimes these incidents can be hostile, they are usually over very quickly. But within our minds, and especially mine, the conversations continue over and over again, constantly re-energizing the feelings of anxiety and anger that are so destructive. So what’s the answer?

I have been trying to figure this out most of my adult life and as it is part of my character I guess it is something that I will always have to work hard on losing. Regardless of the size of an issue that has been in my past, it seems to appear occasionally in my subconscious as though it is knocking on a door in my mind. I have to learn to untie the shackles that weigh down my future, because as they say, Misery loves company!

Removing the chains that are attached to these moments in life that hold you back can be a liberating experience. It doesn’t mean they cannot come back, but like most things in life taking action within your self is already more than half the battle. A sense of freedom will pass over you like a morning summer breeze as you stride forward away from that baggage that has held you back. Looking back in life only means you are missing what is happening now, and stops you seeing all the good things that are ahead of you.