The Story behind the Success

I think once we have some recognized successes, the stakes of being wrong and screwing up start to feel bigger. There is now afterall something to lose!  Credibility, relationships, status…all the things we worked hard to gain.

And so, afraid of losing, we don't want to be seen as making mistakes. So we take less risks, set goals within reach, don't rely that heavily on those around us...

But in doing so we are forgetting that real success, sustained success, is fueled by innovation. And innovation by it’s very nature actually relies on mistakes. Why? Because great ideas morph out of a bunch of attempts and misses and finetuning and attempting again.


So if we stay attached to not making mistakes, we constrict ourselves and those around us and good ideas are lost ... as well as the joy is sucked out of the process. 

But if we let go of the fear of screwing up or needing to look a particular way for others,  perhaps we free ourselves up to be present with the process, in all it messiness: the moments of shared disappointment and brilliance, the scars and the triumphs of innovating the next iteration of what ever thing we are passionately working on.

It's easy to forget this is the same process for the famous successful people we might admire from a distance. We see the end result and can ignore the long arduous process of stumbling that it took them to get there. You will have heard some of these stories before. Scroll down for the people you recognize as well as perhaps some new favorites. The Michael Jordan quote is brilliant.

These stories also remind me that success can’t be the goal. Success is a result. It happens as an effect of us being wildly engaged with our dreams as goals. Trying and failing and trying again on the things that are most meaningful to us.

So here's to that : daring to work on the important-to-us things and being open to trying and failing and trying again, knowing that that is real success.

From your experiences, what would you add to this? How do you give yourself permission to not get it all right all the time?



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