Listen to any motivational speaker for any length of time, and you will hear a story of failure, lessons learned, and eventual triumph. I even wrote a book about it, The Silver Lining Principle. Yet this week, some setbacks, a polite term for failure, had me questioning whether the eventual triumph would ever appear. Why would someone who has Positivity as a strength and Possibilitist as a brand label be questioning his setbacks? Maybe it’s because WHAT you fail at can make all the difference. When I fail at certain things like cold calling, following through on details, and staying consistent, I feel terrible. I find myself losing energy and dredging up negative images and words to describe myself. Yet, when I fail at something like tripping on a jog or messing up a metaphor, I actually laugh and get more energized. What’s the difference? Strength zones versus weakness, plain and simple. When I fail or have a setback in my strength zones, I consider the event feedback. Feedback is integral to analyzing your performance and has a neutral connotation. I am enjoying the activity and find that feedback actually motivates me to keep trying. Watch a two-year old doing something he enjoys and you’ll get the picture. Ask that same two-year old to eat something or do something she doesn’t enjoy, and she will not only fail but also lose her joy. “Eat that and you can leave the table,” doesn’t work with broccoli. The same is true when I fail at my weaknesses. I lose energy and send a negative signal to my subconscious mind regarding my ability in this error. A negative flywheel effect takes hold. The key to moving forward is to focus your growth on your strengths. Growth rarely happens without failure. In fact, the best growth always involves setbacks. Without them, success is meaningless in the long run. Ask a successful person about his success, and I promise you, the answer will include a struggle and the challenges he overcame. To identify your strengths, Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder© assessment is great place to start. (www.strengthsfinder.com) Once you find your strengths and ways to best utilize them, set some stretch goals to improve in your strength zone. And find ways to outsource, delegate, or reduce your investment in weaknesses that you have. As OneCoach founder John Assaraf recommends, “Find someone to do things that are work for YOU and fun for THEM.” When you stay in your strength zone, you will find the strength to fail, and fail, and fail, and enjoy the journey. Ready, Set, GROW!
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