November 26, 2018

Be Resilient in Your Failings

Be resilient in your failings. We prefer comfort over struggle. If we are honest, we prefer comfort above most things. Failing brings us face-to-face with our fears. Strange and maybe counterintuitive, but when it comes to  growing your influence, increasing your impact and expanding your contribution fear points you positively in the direction of what you have to do.

Ever utter the word, “Can’t!” In the third grade, I wasn’t confident about most things. But I was confident that I didn’t like to do anything that was difficult. Every time I would say, “Can’t,” my third grade teacher, Mrs. Aikens, would reply, “Can’t never did anything.”

I wish resilient confidence was a blessing of getting older. I am sure you can confirm my experience that it’s not. But my experience tells me and the research proves that resiliency is essential to discovering our best.  

Be resilient in your failings is “Principle #3”  of impact, influence and contribution

The Six Principles of Impact, Influence and Contribution


  1. Humble in your aspirations.
  2. Gracious in your victories.
  3. Resilient in your failings.
  4. Visionary in your perspective.
  5. Grounded in your choices.
  6. Persistent in your purpose.

The Cycle of Experience

Being resilient in our failings means adopting a mindset of pressing beyond the “can’ts” that evolve our of our experiences. We need to be consistently alerted to the fact that experience is inevitable but learning is optional. Think about that for a moment. Life brings us a steady stream of experiences—they are inevitable. But experiences do not guarantee we learn anything. Thus why history is doomed to repeat itself.  

It is up to us to learn from our expereinces and leverage them to affect impact, growth and contribution. The good news is that experience follows a very predicable cycle. It repeats itself consistently without being prompted.

Aspire Until We Succeed

First, you aspire until you succeed. You set a goal that captures your imagination, sparks ambition or conjours up passion—all of which drives you to succeed. In the process of aspiring, you falsely believe the task or challenge becomes easier. The truth is you became more competent and proficient. 

Succeed Until We Fail

Second, you use the confidence gained from your victory to press forward to larger goals or a higher form of expression within a defined area of expertise. As you advance the resistance becomes greater and eventually you fail.

After We Fail Get Back Up  

The companion of success is failure. You can’t compete to the finish without failing. The crazy thing about this cycle is that the more you scale up your commitment to achieve a goal or dream the greater the resistance you’ll face. Getting back up is not inevitable but optional. And when we get back up the cycle repeats. 

The Reason We Miss Our Calling

We think discovering or uncovering a calling is somehow deeply seeded and hard to uncover. But the truth is it’s not. Our calling (more about this when we get to Principle #6) is unveiled to us in our deepest fears and failings which is the point where resistance is the greatest.

Steven Pressfield, in The War of Art, describes it perfectly saying, “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” 

We miss our calling because we translate failings into failure. It happens because we take our experiences (data points that mark our journey) and use them to define limitations and boundaries. We prematurely turn what was intended to be a comma or dash into a period. 

You’ll Win Some and You’ll Lose Some

Researchers have found that a critical key to being resilient in your failings is not to categorize them as successes and failures. It would be foolish to suggest this is easy, but it is true. The significance and scope of losses vary. Some loss can take our breath away, crush our spirit and be much more difficult to set aside. 

Strangely, sometimes you’ll win or lose and it will have nothing to do with what you did or how you did it. A confluence of circumstances and conditions no one could have predicted may deal the defeating blow or raise you to victory. 

In defeat, you can curse the outcome—even let it steal your passion and belief. But in the end, the next step is yours to take. Wisdom in failings means knowing the next move is yours. 

Pain and Defeat

I don’t want to discount or mimize the fact that life can confront us with soul gripping blows. But if your aim is to grow your influence, increase your impact and expand your contribution, grasp the fact that your greatest pain or defeat may become the platform from which you realize it.

Be resilient in your failings! Every failing that manifests itself in a seed of resistance is helping to shape you into the person you need to become in order serve the people you were created to serve.

Take your next best step!

Put the Principle to Work

For each of of the six principles, I have created a worksheet to help you think about and put the principle to work.

What you'll learn:

  • Use the "Experience Cycle" to plan your next best move!

Click to Download Principle #3 Worksheet

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