Tom Henell is the husband of Monica Lee-Henell and chief marketing officer of our household. Recently we got him to share his wisdom over on the atly platform via a course titled Marketing 101. He is guest posting this week while Monica runs around NYC.
If I could provide you one piece of advice it would be to marry someone who is smarter than you. It makes life so much easier when your spouse identifies your issues, challenges and solutions for you. Now for the record, should you feel you may have already gone down the wrong road on this decision, don’t make any drastic changes. Take pride in the fact that your spouse followed this advice…one of you had to. But, I’m not here to provide marriage advice. My intent was to talk about how we make decisions…big decisions!
The other evening, my lovely wife pointed out to me that despite my professional success, I have always worked either for someone, or with someone, and I have not undertaken an endeavor that was completely mine. She further alluded that when you work for someone, it is easy to point the finger when things do not work out as expected. When we are not completely in charge, we can blame others for limiting our potential.
The truth is, even when we are in charge, we tend to blame others for limiting our potential. Specifically, we create excuses why things won’t work out even before we attempt them. We may understand that we are not completely satisfied in our current role, but we blame time, money, and circumstances for why we cannot chase our dreams. These excuses can be summarized as the fear of failure. We are so afraid of failure, that we convince ourselves not to try.
My question for you is, why are we afraid? Often times we mistakenly assume that staying loyal to the status quo is safer than forging our own trail. I have news for you, there are no guarantees. No guarantees of security if you continue doing what you are doing, and no guarantees that a new venture will be successful.
Considering that you only live once, would you rather stay stagnant and build a lifetime of regret, or would you rather take a chance and see what happens?
Too often we exaggerate the potential impact of choices in our lives (other than that choice to marry someone who wasn’t smarter than you). Our lives are not a trial run for the next run around. Given the option, I like to think I would choose to take a chance and fail, over the option of playing it safe and living a life that did not live up to my full potential.
There are numerous historical examples of individuals who failed, yet continued on to significant success. Consider this quote from basketball legend Michael Jordan, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Failure is like jumping off the high dive. It’s scary and everyone is watching you. But, once you do it, you realize it’s not that bad, and you are ready to try again.
Accepting that failure IS an option is the first step to breaking out and living the life that you really want. To be clear, I am not saying we should expect failure. I am saying that we should not fear it. For anything that we fear, controls us. If we can loosen the control that fear of failure has over us, it gives us freedom to explore our dreams.
This won’t happen overnight, and I’m just exploring it myself. But, I do believe it. I believe that failure is not the opposite of success, it is simply a stepping stone in the process.