got fired three weeks ago from a job I really liked. It’s been tough and I feel like I've failed my family.
My three-year-old hasn’t even noticed that I’m not in the office every day but somehow I’m convinced he thinks I'm useless.
Isn’t that weird? Deep down I know that it’s just my insecurities that are hurting my ego but I lump all of the doubt on my son.
Think back to your childhood, did you wish that your parents were at work more? In most cases, I'm sure the answer is no but it doesn’t make it any easier to fail in front of your family.
Losing your job sucks but the reality is that my kids will value their time with me much more than my position on the corporate ladder. As long as we have food on the table it will all be ok, right?
I’ve emerged from the post-firing fog to a clearer view of what I want out of life and working 9-5 in an office, isn’t it...
Why is it the norm to spend the majority of our lives away from the people we love? What about the lunchtime bike rides and the mid-week camping trips? That's what I want.
I wouldn’t have known this if I didn’t get fired. Thank god I did!
In this post I’m going to tell you why it’s not only OK to fail, but why it’s NECESSARY for your growth and direction, why you should do it often and why it’s what you do after that counts.
Failing is your pathway to success
Fail quickly and fail often, this is the way.
A while ago I read a book by one of my favourite authors, Ryan Holiday, called The Obstacle is the Way. In it, he teaches that every struggle, failure and obstacle is an opportunity to grow and can give you the skills needed to reach your next step. Each setback is a stepping stone to your next milestone.
NOTE* I don’t want you to get the idea that you have to see the bright side in every situation. You don’t and you should emotionally deal with anything that comes up but just keep in mind that most things can be a catalyst for change.
I’ll give you an example.
My wife was assaulted when we first started dating. Before then our relationship was casual and a year after, we were married. It brought us closer together.
The shitty situation was our stepping stone to a closer relationship.
Fail often but do it properly
Although I’ve been singing the praises of failure in this article, there are some important things to remember.
- Your goal should always be to succeed in whatever you do. Giving your all to a project is where the growth comes from, the failure (if you do fail) is the catalyst to put that growth into practice. Trying to fail with the hopes to learn is a shortcut to frustration.
- You should be failing every day. I try hard to be a good dad but it’s really hard and inevitably I make mistakes. I make my son cry because I raise my voice or I don’t handle a meltdown properly. This is a great example because it shows that mistakes don’t have to be massive, life-altering disasters for you to learn from them. There are opportunities every day, take advantage of them.
The Failure growth cycle
This is something I simplified from a concept that Ray Dalio writes about in his book Principles. The idea is that we are constantly somewhere within a cycle of reinvention or rebirth.
Here’s the cycle
- We do something (work, trying something new, parenting etc).
- We fail at that thing.
- We reflect on the failure and recognise why we failed (we learn).
- We try step 1 again with our new learnings from step 3 and get a little further towards success.
- Repeat for eternity.
The Failure growth cycle is a massive part of how we can be successful in life but most people skip steps 3-4. Put the effort in and you will reap the rewards!
My martial arts coach used to say to me “When you win, you get a medal, when you lose you get a lesson”. 🥋
Thinking like this will change your life and remember, don’t be afraid to fail!
It’s what you do after that counts.