Don’t be afraid to fail, choose to grow

A time of change might make our lives seem difficult but it also brings us opportunities.

Understanding this comes in four stages.

The first is to realise that it is not just our own lives but the whole world that is becoming more difficult to predict and control. Massive changes are happening in technology, politics, society, and the environment — so any project that anyone starts is likely to turn out differently from how they expected. It’s not just us.

Accepting this allows us to let go of our emotional attachment to achieving a specific outcome and yet to still do our best to achieve it. Like Thomas Edison, inventor of the lightbulb, it frees us to say:

“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”

The second stage is to realise that if we can’t rely on the outside world to turn out as we expect, then it becomes more important than ever to give ourselves inner guidance. The more we know who we are and who we want to become, the more we know our purpose and values and what a worthwhile life looks like for us, then the more we become able to respond with focus, flexibility, and enthusiasm no matter what happens.

Giving ourselves direction in these ways means that, as Zig Ziglar said:

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”

The third stage is to realise that ten years ago you did not have the skills you have today. The skills you have now arose directly from the challenges you faced in the past. So the ‘challenges’ you face today are actually opportunities to become who you most want to become. And the clearer you are on your purpose and values the better you can choose the opportunities that will most inspire you.

And this brings us to our final insight: the realisation that we are not just human beings we are human becomings. Nothing around us is fixed or certain. Our only choice is whether or not we attempt to become who we truly are.

In this time of change nobody cannot predict what is going happen. Everything is uncertain. That means that everything is possible. And new opportunities are emerging all the time.

So don’t be afraid to fail, choose to grow.

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)

Photo By Kevin Dooley via

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