Outside the Box

Failure is not an excuse to quit, it’s an excuse to innovate

I’ve experienced many setbacks in my professional life.  I’ve lost bids for contracts when I was self-employed, I’ve not been hired at companies I wanted to work for, I’ve been passed up for promotions, and much more.  There are times when I thought about giving up, and for a time I have given up.  The key is I didn’t give up completely.  After a little pity party for myself, I pick up the pieces and ask myself “ok, now what?”

Picking myself is easy, it’s a struggle.  All I want to do is sit around watching movies and accepting my fate.  That’s the easy thing to do.  But the easy thing is as good as death, to quote David Goggins “To grow in life be willing to suffer”.  Sometimes I have to accept that I have doubts and that I’m afraid I’ll fail, but I always remind myself failure just tells me what doesn’t work so I can try something different.

You need to get uncomfortable to grow because when you are comfortable you aren’t moving forward.  Now I’m not saying that you should go into your boss’s office and cuss them out and quit your job, but stop agreeing to work overtime and weekends and start putting that time into planning your next move.  Maybe you want a promotion, start taking classes or online certificate courses that will help you get that promotion.  Maybe you have a business idea, use that time to work on your business plan and start your business.

While it is important to take the leap, you need to have a plan.  Someone running through a crowd at the Grand Canyon and then jumping off the edge to do some base jumping still had to plan because they had to pack a parachute.  What they did may seem impulsive but there was some planning behind their action.  So while yes you need to take the leap make sure you have your parachute be it education, a business plan, or whatever it is you need to succeed.

Find your motivation

What motivates you?  What drives you to want to make a change in your life?  The freedom of being your own boss?  The feeling that you’re stuck in a dead-end job?  A general feeling of wasting your life?  Embrace that feeling, and use it as fuel to drive you forward.  Every time you feel like giving up think back to all those negative feelings that motivator gave you and remember you are working to get away from ever feeling that again.

While those negative feelings are great motivators, you can’t live in pure negativity.  While you’re thinking about what motivates you, you also need to think of the positives.  Maybe it’s the experience that you gained in your current and previous positions, maybe it’s the dream of what you can achieve through your hard work.  Whatever it is remember that and when you need positivity to motivate you think back on that.

The power of hate

Ok, I admit that’s a really clickbaity heading, sorry.  But this is what I jokingly tell people when they ask me what motivates me.  Really what motivates me is the desire to prove others wrong, yes I do hate some of those people, but not all of them.  In previous jobs I’ve had managers ignore verbal and physical abuse directed at me, I’ve had a Vice President openly refer to me as “the retard”, and there are other examples, and those people I do hate.  But I’ve had a lot more people in my life who just doubted I’d ever succeed or make anything of myself, and it’s proving those people wrong that really drives me.  I’m operating on the idea that “success is the best revenge”.

When someone states that they don’t think you will succeed it can be infuriating, and if you’re not careful it can eat you alive.  But if you can calm yourself down and transition into a more logical mode of thinking, you can use that doubt as fuel to motivate you to prove them wrong.  By remembering that doubt and the feelings it brought to you in the moment you can tell yourself “never again” and you can push yourself forward when all you want to do is quit.

Don’t let your hate and doubt consume you, let it motivate you.

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