Don’t be afraid to fail, choose to grow

People climbing a cliff face

A time of change can make our lives seem more difficult. But it also brings us opportunities. Realising this comes in three stages.

The first stage is to realise that the world is becoming ever more difficult to predict and control. This is increasingly true in technology, politics, society, and the environment so why not in our own lives? Anything we do might turn out differently from how we expected. If we accept this then we have the opportunity to let go of our emotional attachment to any specific outcome, but still do our best to achieve it. We become able to think like Thomas Edison, inventor of the lightbulb, who said:

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

This frees us.

This approach will work best when we know who we are: when we know what a worthwhile life looks like for us, what our purpose and values are, and who we want to become. This time of change has become an opportunity to get to know ourselves better. And when we do this then, as Zig Ziglar said:

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

Our third opportunity comes when we realise that ten years ago we did not have the skills we have today. The skills we have now came directly from the challenges we faced in the past. So the so-called challenges we face today are actually opportunities for us to become the kind of person we want to become. If we know how to look for them there are ten different types, and the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.

This creates our final opportunity: to realise that we are not human beings we are human becomings. Nothing around us is fixed or certain. Our only choice is whether we attempt to become, or not to become who we truly are.

In a time of change, new opportunities are emerging all the time. If we know how to find those opportunities, choose the one that is right for us, and turn it into an inspiring vision then we can be confident that no matter what happens we will find a new way forward.

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

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

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Photo By Kevin Dooley via

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