Why Failing Is Really Winning

Ah, the F-word. It’s seriously one of my favorite words. It’s hard to believe I’m sure, but it can be used in any situation at any time. I once used the word to explain to my parents why I missed curfew after a night of partying in Mexico. Apparently they thought of something completely different when the truth was, I just failed to stay sober and missed my bus.

Failure sucks, but at the same time, failure is so amazing. It allows us to know what doesn’t work. It allows us the opportunity to change the outcome or the score of the game. It allows us to learn.

I recently read a similar article about failure. Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, says to “go F-word yourself to the top!” I love it and completely agree.

My mentor, who we will call Z, has told me time and time again that his failures are what made him strong enough to handle the successes. I never knew what that meant until I had my own failures.

I’ve failed a lot. Some failures to date include:

  • Countless failed relationships (However, the only one that matters is the one I have now.)
  • Two failed companies
  • Two failed bands (Fistfighting on stage constitutes a band breakup and failure.)

Failing gives you the chance to look back and learn from your mistakes. Mistakes and failures are the greatest reminders in life. It’s no wonder they say business isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would be successful, and life would be boring. F that! No seriously — go fail. Do it now, and do it hard. But learn the lessons. Let those lessons scar you badly enough so that you never repeat them.

Agency life is no different than real life. Well, obviously it’s a lot different, but that’s not the point. How many failed pitches have I been through that felt like a punch in the gut? Many. But that makes the wins and successes that much sweeter. It also allows us to continuously refine our processes, verbiage and angles to better suit prospective clients. Whether you are in new business, client services or creative, failures are going to happen, but the minute you let them shape your future decisions is the exact moment you commit to a failure point of view.

Like Michael Jordan says, “I’ve failed over and over, and that is why I succeed.”

So here it is: my top five reasons to fail and fail big.

  1. It teaches us a lesson. And life is one big lesson. So the more you fail, the more you win.
  2. It shows you how to face adversity. When you fail, you have two options: sink and be demoralized, or triumph and push harder. Remember the old saying, “one step backward and two steps forward.”
  3. It makes you humble. If you are always winning, then you have no idea what it means to be grateful for what you have. Sometimes you must scrape rock bottom to appreciate the top again.
  4. Because just like in baseball, the Yankees can’t win every year. It’s mathematically impossible. Accept it.
  5. It makes you a more well-rounded individual. Imagine how much more interesting a conversation is with people who have failed and then succeeded than those who have only known success. I can smell their pompous attitude from here.

So, the moral of all of this is simple: try hard, fail harder, and adapt even harder.

Originally Posted on 10/13/14 on HubSpot's The Agency Post