1 Chronicles 28:20 David said further to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and act. Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.
Recently, I attended the national gathering of my denomination in Cleveland, OH. It was my first time attending, and in many ways it lived up to my expectation. I brought with me some key concepts for incorporation, one of which regards failure. I have written on this topic before, as it is a significant theme in my life, and in the lives of others, as well as institutions. Wherever you find people, you find self-doubt. So I put before you again King David’s words of wisdom through a different lens. Don’t be afraid to replace I with we:
Personally, the fear of failure transcends mere words for me. It is as present and palpable as the walls of my office or the chair I sit on. It holds me fast, and prevents me from reaching out for the brass ring (a ring that is ever changing, of course) or risking greatly. I don’t want to fail. I want to win. That’s what everyone wants, because our culture values winners.
I was empowered by a speaker in Cleveland who challenged us to fail. Why would anyone purposefully fail? Because, failure means you tried. You were strong enough to risk greatly- to venture out into uncharted waters and give a new idea, new experience or even an old idea another go. Even an epic failure will propel you forward with new knowledge of where things went wrong and how to make an adjustment for future success. Even in the losing, you win; if that win means nothing more being willing risk and overcome the multitude of reason why it is easier to talk about doing something than to actually do it.
I encourage you to risk the epic fail. To traverse the land of fear and unknowns will ultimately shape you in a way that talking never will. Oh, and when you fail, don’t be afraid to fail again. Success comes to the one who perseveres- sometimes in an unexpected way. I hope we can all share some epic fail stories, for in doing so we speak more loudly of ourselves that the failures themselves.