If there was one thing you want to become an expert in its failure. Failure is the small steps you need to take before you achieve the big step of success. A lot of us don’t understand what it really means to fail, and we are not taught its relationship to success.
It’s time to change what you think about failure and see it as a positive, guiding force in your life. It’s time to get serious about your goals and to raise your awareness of how your heroes really do succeed at all of their endeavors and make the whole thing look so damn easy.
Here are the 9 things you need to know about failure:
1. Fail Fast
A somewhat of a cliché in the startup world is to “fail fast.” Innovation is about trying lots of different ideas with the comfort of knowing that most are meant to fail. Failure is fine as long as you fail quickly. The longer failure drags on, the more your success and mindset are affected.
Get good at recognising failure and being proud of when things don’t give you the desired result. Nothing in your life is perfect, and failure shows us those beautiful imperfections we all have.
“It’s in our imperfections that our true beauty is revealed”
2. Move on quickly from failure
Getting stuck in failure and what has already transpired will put you into a depressed state of being. The trick with failure is to acknowledge it, and then quickly move onto the next idea or venture. Before you move on, extract the lessons, regroup your thoughts, and then be proud that you failed.
Failure takes a lot of guts, and only a mature adult can admit when something hasn’t worked out. The challenge we have in the corporate world is that failure is frowned upon. In the startup world, you’re a freakin hero when you fail, and it’s the cool, new hip way of doing things.
Practice the startup way of failing and you’ll be successful before you know it. Take the “Hollywood actor” corporate approach to failure and you’ll become about as relevant as the horse and cart from the early 1900’s. The choice is yours. Be bold, be smart, and leave your ego behind.
3. Reframe the failure
The word “failure” is a bit of a nasty word and some would say there is no such thing as failure. I like the word failure because it’s something that we can all relate to, and it takes us out of the whole positive thinking cult where we pretend that nothing ever goes wrong.
Stuff goes wrong all the time, and it’s supposed to. The key to failure is to align it in your mind with the word lesson. Lessons are a cheap form of education, and they stop you from blowing more time, energy, and money on concepts that don’t work.
Entrepreneurs who get good at failure typically save thousands, if not millions of dollars in product development.
4. The best products are wrapped in failure
I spent some time in an innovation lab this year, and the whole experience shaped the idea of failure for me. When you see what goes into making a world-class product, you understand just how important failure is.
All good products that become icons of our time have a tremendous amount of failure embedded in them. What makes a product wrapped in failure do so well is when the customer is brought in for the whole failure journey.
Success in business is a fine line between customer lead design, and knowing how to see the world better than it is with a lens that no one is currently using. Consumers didn’t know they wanted a tablet until some bright spark came up with one.
The finished product though had hours and hours of failed attempts at the core of its design. Bottom line; get good at dancing with failure in all aspects of your life and business.
5. Block out the opinions about your failure
Everyone can tell you how they think you should do something, but only you and your team can see the end vision. Conversely, everyone has an opinion on why you failed. Don’t get wiped out by a tidal wave of what people say about your failures.
No one is as close to your failure as you are so they can’t know all the finer details. Getting lost in opinions causes you to get trapped in a reality that won’t move you forward. What one person sees’s as the truth is not always the absolute truth.
Opinions of your failures can derail your confidence and make you experience feelings that will sabotage your success.
“You’re in the driver’s seat of your life so don’t let failure force you to hit the eject button too soon”
6. Understand that failure and success are joined at the hip
I get asked all the time by Addicted2Success fans how to have more success. The big secret that nobody’s talking about is to understand that failure and success are joined at the hip. If you want more success, then you have to add in more failure.
Success and failure are part of the same recipe called “Your Dream.” You are not just going to trip over success in the street and suddenly make it. By increasing your failure rate, you allow yourself to see more success.
While listening to the famous skateboarder Tony Hawk recently, I got the idea of failure nailed in my mind. Tony said that when he is trying to learn a complicated trick that’s never been done by any human before, he fails 99 times out of 100.
When he did the nine hundred degree spin for the first time, it wasn’t because he had more skill. There were plenty of other skateboarders trying to do the same trick at exactly the same time. What made Tony Hawk successful was that he was prepared to fail more than them and deal with the fear that comes from potentially enduring a major injury as a result of his failure.
Even the sporting greats like Tony Hawk are not these gods that we perceive them to be. Their secret formula is quadrupling their rate of failure. Are you bold enough to do the same and experience the success that comes along with it?
7. It’s better to fail than never try
Society is full of couch commentators who scream at the TV about how things should be done. Rather than be a passive participant in life, try going out there and failing. It’s better to take action and fail than it is to never try and miss your full potential.
Failure shows us that you are trying, and you haven’t found the right path yet. Most of us don’t know the right path to success yet, even though we fool people into thinking we do with our perfect social media photos.
Wealth starts in the mind and then it manifests itself in the material world. Start trying and forget about your rate of failure. You’ve got this!
“I’d rather you failed a million times than just sat on the couch and did nothing hoping that the lottery will make you rich” – Tim Denning
8. Failure get’s easier
The fantastic thing about failure is that it get’s easier the more you do it. When we do something over and over, it becomes comfortable. The best action you can take in your life is to commit to getting comfortable with failure which is at the root of your eventual success.
9. Failing does not equal quitting
Quitting and failing are two different things. Quitters exit from their dream altogether and blame outside circumstances. They also take no lessons or value away from the experience and choose to live in a state of madness about what has transpired.
Failing is very different and implies that you learned something from the experience and insinuates that you are going to have a second try. Quitting is to cut off from all possibilities and choose not to give your passion a second chance.
Learn to fail and stay away from quitting.
***A story of failure***
I have hundreds of stories of failure but one that stands out clearly to me, from being a blogger, came to me recently. Early on, when I began writing on Addicted2Success over two years ago, I had an article that went semi-viral.
I started to think I was Superman, and I wanted to follow up the blog post with another popular story. At this stage, my purpose, dream, and vision were still not quite clear and I was admittedly a little naive in my thinking at the time.
While thinking about what I could write about next, I remembered the horrible story I went through when I was sixteen years old and was nearly murdered while being out late one night. The story, I thought, had many lessons to be learned and I was sure that people would connect with it.
After going to all sorts of trouble to make the post perfect, and even going to great troubles to get the right photo (and buying a knife for the photo), I published the post, and it didn’t resonate. At the time, I thought that I had failed, and I wasn’t sure if I was cut out to do this whole blogging thing.
Thankfully, I got some sense knocked into me by a few people, and I moved on from this failure. Had it not been for this blog post, I would have continued to live in a false world with an over inflated ego.
Failure brings us back to reality, and it allows us to try again with a new perspective on things. By having the blog post do poorly, I learned more about what I should be writing and changed the direction of my success.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for many of these failed blog posts that produced very little result.
What has failure taught you and how have you failed? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
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