When I was young, failure felt like anything I wasn’t able to do perfectly the first time.
It was awkward, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. I thought people were laughing at me, judging me, and deciding I just wasn’t good enough.
It took me a long time to learn how to fail the right way. To embrace it, relish it, even joyfully seek it out.
I came to understand true failure means quitting or not learning. Everything else is just part of the success process.
Steps on the way to achieving a goal.
And in many of my early year, I was often a “true” failure. I quit many times when it got difficult or when I was tired or became frustrated. I hadn’t been willing to exert the effort needed to endure the pain required to win.
Lots of great people begin strong.
But somewhere along the way, they convince themselves they didn’t really want their intended goal once it gets difficult.
And it always does. It always gets difficult.
The masses don’t achieve too many extraordinary goals because, quite frankly, it’s just too uncomfortable.
High achievers operate way out on the razor-thin edge of their ability.
They deliberately seek mistakes and missteps because they recognize them for what they are – the opportunity to fine-tune their skills, improve their resolve, and enhance their craft.
This is how they become champions, by pushing the edge of failure again and again.
Mistakes are to be celebrated.
I love how my teenage daughter approaches anything new – she assumes it will be uncomfortable, especially the first time. She knows if she gets through it the first time, the second time will be easier. And the time after that will feel even better.
I’ve seen her apply this logic to karate, surfing, sailing, snow boarding, math, music, drill competitions, skim boarding, writing, learning new software, travel, and making new friends.
She’s scared, but she does it anyway.
She takes charge of her success by continuously pushing the edge of her abilities, seeking that point of failure. She does this deliberately so she can and will make a mistake, coming back to it over and over, all the while moving that limit farther out.
It’s called mastery and its pursuit defines a champion. My daughter is a champion and I am both awed and thrilled she learned how to be one so early in life.
High achievers are exceptionally good at reaching that point of failure. They embrace it. They seek it. It becomes a way of life.
And that’s how they become champions.