Success is a number of things done consistently well, across the spectrum. Failure is the antithesis, with the reasons for failure caused by any one or a combination of the following:
1. Staying in your Comfort Zone – We place a high value on winning above all else; many equate the thought of failing with losing. Consequently, a mind-set of “never fail, never lose” is adopted, which is a flawed line of thinking. Your commitment to succeed must be stronger than your fear of failure, otherwise you never try, which in itself is a failure since you are not doing anything and will never realize your full potential.
2. Lack of Belief – A passionate belief in what you are doing and confidence in your ability are essential. The absence of either one of these two ingredients will ultimately catch up with you. Your strength of conviction and belief in yourself will imbue you with confidence to face whatever is put in front of you.
3. Lack of Competence – Your ability directly translates to your skill set. If do not have the requisite training or background you will lack confidence, have low self-esteem, and continually be on the defensive. Ensure you are a good fit for what you are doing, play to your strengths, and develop a distinct set of competencies which enhance your prospects for continued success.
4. Lack of Perseverance – Nothing good comes easily or quickly. You have to work for it, stay with it, and never give up. It is imperative for you to have the conviction, determination, and will to weather the bad times in order to reach your goals.
5. Lack of Character – Character counts; it matters. Individuals with a negative attitude and fatalistic views do not imbue confidence. Holding others accountable but never accepting responsibility is unfair to those on the team. Intolerance and lack of empathy to those around you affects teamwork and morale. Holding others to one set of standards, while compromising those same standards through your actions, undermines your personal authority.
6. Lack of Discipline – Discipline relates directly to self-control, which must be practiced in order to be disciplined. It means continually adhering to the highest standards of conduct and business practice, avoiding shortcuts and temptations to do otherwise. You face problems head-on and do not procrastinate, understanding you have to put in the time, make sacrifices along the way, and exhibit a strong work ethic.
7. Lack of Focus – There needs to be continuing attention and focus on strategy, process, and implementation, including metrics and timeline. You need to be cognizant of direction, warning signs, and make course adjustments as necessary. Avoid devoting an inordinate amount of time to distractions which do not contribute to your personal and professional goals.
8. Business Partners – Most of the problems in business are people related. Great care should be taken when putting together a team to ensure you have the right balance of talent with good chemistry. Just as importantly, make sure who you hire is who they say they are and has accomplished that which is being touted.
9. Lack of Resources – This is usually finance related, pertaining to the inability to raise funds or the depletion of funds. Close attention must be paid to cash flow and trends, ensuring that reserves are put aside, and most importantly, that plans are realistic and attainable.
10. Poor Planning and Execution – When a business is in peril or fails, poor planning and execution are always central contributors. An aggressive plan with bad management and poor communication is usually fatal. Poor leadership combined with arrogance usually results in an inability, even unwillingness, to accept feedback, which later manifests itself in an avalanche of hidden problems. A lack of clear goals and little to no accountability jeopardize your ability to track and determine progress toward objectives, metrics, and timelines.
What is worse than failing? One answer is, “Never trying and never knowing.” That is even worse than failure, as you will one day sit back, reflect, and wonder, “What if?” You may even regret it and say, “If I had it to do all over again, I would have given it a shot.” The lesson here is to avoid making a decision for the wrong reasons, chief among them being the fear of failure.
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Those were Aristotle’s comments concerning criticism. You can just as easily substitute the word “failure” for “criticism,” as the only way you will avoid failure is to do nothing.
One needs to be prepared to accept that failure is part of life. You are not along in this regard and are not being singled out by forces intent on wreaking havoc. If you are living your life based on a fear of failure, you are doing yourself a great disservice.
There is no way to avoid failure; life is a series of wins and losses, ups and downs. However, steps can be taken to reduce the failures and mitigate the impact. You can emerge stronger, wiser, and better equipped for the next challenge if you maintain the right mind-set and take the right approach.
An important part of dealing with failure is to accept failure for what it is, learn from it, adapt, and grow. As Winston Churchill so eloquently stated “Success is the ability to move from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
You will assuredly be faced with adversity and experience failure, both professionally and personally. How one responds to these circumstances not only reveals character but builds character. When faced with difficult circumstances, there are a number of things that you can do to weather the storm. However, first you need to be cognizant of the ten reasons for failure, which I will address in my next blog.
Below is why I believe that Sharp Leadership is a manual, to overcome adversity in any environment and in any stage of life. I believe that everyone in the world should have a copy of this book, on them at all times, as they go on this journey called life. Life is going to knock you flat on your butt at least one time in your life, and when it does, how fast are you going to get up, if you get up at all?
The leadership principles and real-life stories that I talk about in my book, Sharp Leadership – Overcome Adversity To Lead With Authenticity, are lessons that I have learned in every walk of my life. They work at home when you are trying to rear your children to be self-sufficient, have good moral character, treat people fair, and believe in the Lord or a power higher than themselves. These guiding principles work when you are trying to be a good spouse and have a fruitful long-term marriage, when the divorce rate is currently about 50%. These leadership tips work when you are on your job and you have a tyrant for a boss and you need to put food on the table. These nuggets work when you are competing on the athletic field, participating in an individual sport and or a team sport. These truths are valuable when you are serving in a capacity as a religious/church leader or parishioner. More important than that, is having the ability, to take your faith walk to the marketplace, and let your uncompromising light shine, in the darkness of this world. If you have chosen to be an entrepreneur and step out on your own, then these rules of the road will help you sell your product by building solid long-term relationships with quality people. They will also help you to create a superior product and deliver world class customer service. My most important pearls of wisdom, were taught to me, when I was eager to listen and I did not have the resources at my disposal to fix whatever problem or obstacle, that I was facing at the time. In other words, I go knocked down, and could not get up by myself. I was not smart enough, strong enough, wealthy enough, or creative enough to fix the problem or overcome my circumstances. My rock-solid simple principles of never quitting, taking care of your people, building deep – long term relationships, and keeping the priorities of Faith, Family, and friends, when the storms come, are what has kept and keep me going. A burning passion to give back to the next generations as my ancestors did, keeps me energized.
Please feel free to contact me on my website and let me know how we can partner, as well as order my book through my website, where I can autograph a copy for you. My book can also be ordered on Amazon or Barnes & Nobles.
Carl H. Sharperson, Jr.
Speaker | Author | Leadership Innovation Strategist
Order Sharp Leadership Book
Goals are achieved with commitment – not just interest – in doing something. Goals require unyielding resolve, self-control, and passionate belief in your vision. You must be 100 per cent committed, otherwise you will sabotage yourself along the way.
Once you commit, you are accountable to yourself. Consider this a promise to yourself, something that cannot be broken. There will be others affected by what you do. Share your goals and plan with them, since this imbues a greater sense of accountability. These individuals should be supportive and trustworthy, avoid the doom-and-gloomers.
Be clear on what you want to do and what is needed to achieve your goals. If you do not have the requisite skills or tools to reach your goals, gain an understanding of what you need to do to acquire them. Anticipate the obstacles you may encounter and how you will deal with them. This makes you better prepared and less likely to be derailed. You cannot anticipate everything. There will be surprises so condition yourself to find a way around it. Recognize the effort and sacrifices you will have to make, understanding that nothing worthwhile comes easy, and anything that comes easily is usually not long lasting.
In the military and in sports, one of the common denominators is a routine or process associated with everything that is done. These are actions and processes in place that all serve to reinforce the plans to reach an ultimate goal. You should also adopt a regimen with the right habits that all serve to reinforce the plan to reach your ultimate goal. This training and routine instill the right mind-set to optimize your prospects since they are interconnected. Train your mind and the body will follow since it is your mind-set above all, that provides the will and the shoulders of Atlas for the heavy lifting.
The commitment you are making takes time and effort. Be cognizant of those activities and demands that divert you from your plan. Keep distractions to a minimum, understanding that you will have to learn to say “No” as there is nothing more valuable than your time. When you encounter an obstacle, instead of saying “I don’t know what to do,” say “I will figure this out”. Be open minded and understand that oftentimes it is not having the answer but knowing where to find it that will provide the solution.
As you commit to yourself, keep the following in mind, and you will get there.
1. Commit fully – no half measures.
2. Be clear and define what you want to do.
3. Adopt a routine; establish good habits; be disciplined.
4. Put in the time for training and conditioning.
5. Be realistic, resourceful, and resilient.