In my work as a motivational speaker, I’m usually focused on helping people to achieve their goals. But ‘success’ rarely follows a linear path. In my career, I’ve achieved some of my biggest dreams, but what you may not realise is that I’ve probably failed more times than I’ve succeeded.
I was reminded of this recently when I watched the fight between Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu. It was disheartening to watch my friend Jeff’s defeat, but I was impressed by how graciously he handled it: “I was just fighting for the big fights and the mountain was too big for me tonight.”
Putting your losses into perspective is one of the most important ways to move forward. One quote I live by is ‘learners never lose’. Whether you succeed or not, it pays to look back and ask yourself: What have I learned from this experience? What went well that I can carry into the next challenge? And what would I do differently next time?
As Seth Gordon says, “Even better than buying a new bicycle is adjusting the seat on your existing bike properly. That’s because the height of the seat changes your power. It’s the point of maximum leverage… Get the strategy right, then implement small changes, repeated with persistence and generosity.”
It can also help to take a step back and look at other areas of your life that are going well or bring you joy – whether that’s an exciting new project at work, a fitness goal, hanging out with a friend, or a hobby you love to immerse yourself in. For Jeff, it’s his roles as a husband, and as a father to two daughters, “It’s time to go home and give the girls a cuddle... I’ll give them all a big kiss and hug tomorrow,” he said after the match. I just wanted to jump into the ring and give him a cuddle, too!
Pictured: Jeff Horn with daughter Isabelle, wife Joanna, and baby Charlotte.
That leads me to my next tip: make sure you have the right people in your corner. When you have supporters and mentors to help get you back on your feet, the falls don’t seem so scary. And when you’re not afraid to fail, that’s when you have the confidence to take risks and, ultimately, grow. So, who’s in your corner? Maybe it’s your family, a close friend, your boss or coach. Build up a strong support network, and you’ll be able to handle the setbacks as well as having someone there to celebrate the wins.
Pictured: Jeff Horn with his team, taken from ringside by yours truly.
When you’re ready to try again, take your learnings and look at your goal with fresh eyes. In my book, Go Girl, I say, “To get a different result, you have to make a change. I often say that it’s easier to build a new ship than pull the Titanic up from the bottom of the ocean. In other words, start afresh with a clean page.”
Ask yourself: Why is this particular goal important to me at this moment? Does it align with my greater purpose? If I achieve this, what else could be unlocked? What tools, skills or people do I need to help me succeed? Are there other pathways to achieving this goal?
If you can learn from your setbacks, you haven’t failed. You’re just another step closer to unlocking your success.
PS – I can’t wait to go on a play date with Jeff and his girls, and me and my girls (my wife Sarah and daughter Jordan)!
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