I learned more from failure than I learned from success
I learned more no thank you, so much more than yes
I learned to be willing to lead with my chin,
And if I were willing to lose I could win
-Barry Manilow

It is hard for me to believe I am citing Barry Manilow for my blog, but I absolutely love this quote. It reminds me of one of my greatest failures.

David Forsythe was a beast of a boy. We attended the same school in 8th grade, my first year as a wrestler (I think David began wrestling at age 2 or 3). He was strong and mean and took great pleasure in throwing me all over the mat in practice. 2 years later as a sophomore in a different high school I found myself wrestling against him in the finals of a tournament. To the surprise of most people, including myself, I was winning comfortably in the 3rd and final round. With less than 15 seconds left in the match, David stuck me with a double underhook, flipped me to my back and pinned me. It was devastating.

“The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they're necessary to reach the places we've chosen to go.”
–Richard Bach

The dictionary defines failure as “The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends.” This loss certainly qualified. Here are some suggestions when you don’t achieve your desired end (I recommend you record your reflections in a journal).

1. Evaluate your natural tendencies. What do you do when you fail? Where do you go mentally and emotionally? What do you make it mean about you, the result, and the world you live in? What do you say to yourself? How does it change the course of your life?

2. Look for the lesson. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “lessons repeat themselves until learned.” Have you found yourself in a similar dilemma in the past? If so, what are the common denominators that contributed to you ending up here? Are there tendencies, habits, or areas of neglect which led you here? Be brutally honest. Take the stance that there is a lesson here and you can learn it. It may be helpful to “pull yourself out of the picture.” Step back and see yourself in a movie. You are now watching the hero (you) struggle with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. What strengths, people, strategies and other resources can our hero call on? You might even want to create some theme music for your road toward victory.

“I never failed once, it just happened to be a 2000 step process.” –Thomas Edison

3. Develop an “attitude of gratitude.” Be thankful for the experience. Believe it is here to help and serve you. Ask yourself:
• What am I doing right?
• What’s great about this?
• What’s funny about this I haven’t noticed yet?
• What can I learn from this?
• How can I grow?
• How can I be a positive impact for others because of this?
• What am I grateful for?
• Who can I count on?
• Who can I ask for help?
• Who has gone through a similar situation? How can I learn from their experience?

4. Apply the lessons. Be willing to grow. Ask for help. I wish I could tell you I wrestled David Forsythe again and whupped him. Or that I became the greatest wrestler ever. The fact is I never even saw him again. What I did do is get help. I got coached. I got stronger. I got better. I was never pinned again and was eventually ranked 3rd in my weight class in the state of Alabama. Wrestling, more than anything else in my youth, instilled in me a sense of confidence, discipline, mental toughness, leadership and perseverance. There is no doubt in my mind I became a better wrestler and a better person because of that loss. To this day whenever I get “pinned” that wrestling match reminds me to get up, dust myself off, learn, grow, and get back in the ring.

Now go get out there and fail! It is your pathway to greatness.

Author's Bio: 

Doug Grady is President of High Achievers Network. For over 16 years, Doug has been engaging audiences from coast to coast with his wit and wisdom. Exciting, entertaining and enlightening are words invariably used to describe his unique seminars and workshops. He has been privileged to share the platform with legends Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, Tony Robbins, and Dr. Denis Waitley. As a business owner, professional speaker and musician, Doug is a jack of many trades and a master of one: helping you master yours. The companies he has trained include AFLAC, BNI, Bank of America, and Sprint.

"Doug Grady gives you practical, proven ideas and methods you can use immediately, and he presents them in a fast-moving, entertaining and enjoyable style." -Brian Tracy, Author, Maximum Achievement

"Doug Grady has real world information that will make you listen, make you laugh, make you think, and make you money." -Jeffrey Gitomer, Author, The Sales Bible