Tag Archives: Goal setting

When is failing, failure?

This is a question I’ve had the opportunity to consider in my work role that I commenced earlier this year. A core component is determining the presence of the scientific method in assessing complex research and development projects.

In science, I’ve learned failing is a lesson, a pathway to a revised experiment. In life, failing is more often seen as being unsuccessful. The reality is, though, that failing only becomes failure when we cease trying.

Muhammad Ali was a great boxer, deemed by many to be ‘The Greatest’ of the 20th century, perhaps all-time. As a boxer, he was knocked-down by opponents. How many world titles did he win from the canvas? He won world titles not by staying down, but by rising up and continuing to fight. Boxing analogies are well-used I know, but that’s because they reflect what many of us do not do. When we’re struck down, floored by an unseen challenge, we spend too much time working out how and why when we should be readying ourselves for the next round.

Are we using failing as an opportunity to learn and go again, or we allowing it to nudge us closer to failure?

This is where we need to adopt the view of science, not the world. We need to measure our efforts, our plans, by the systematic progression of work we’re employing, not by the immediate outcome.

Adopting the scientific method into our own world means that we begin with the idea, the dream, the goal. Around this we develop a framework of what we think is required – the skills, the knowledge, the relationships, the courage. This provides the platform for our ‘experiment’ where we infuse the idea with effort, where we give it a go.

At this point, the immediate outcome may not be the final result. If our effort delivers the outcome we desired, fantastic – move onto the next idea! If the outcome is not what we desired, fantastic – move back to the framework we created and alter, refine and expand. If the result remains the same after several iterations of the framework, we may even need to go back to the original idea to determine if this is valid for us at this point in time.

The famous quote attributed to the inventor of the lightbulb, Thomas Edison, epitomises the scientific method ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’

Failing only becomes failure when we cease trying.


Plan your life like a holiday

I love holidays.

I particularly enjoy the expectation associated with the planning beforehand to ensure we’re maximizing our time and experiencing the destination to its fullest. After all, I want to make the most of the limited time. Funny then that I’m not as diligent in planning for the rest of my life – decades not days…

Do you also find this?

It could be the excitement of the short-term adventure as opposed to the routine of the everyday. Looking at this logically however it makes incredible sense to allocate more time and energy to the area that yields the greatest impact.

The key I’m discovering is intentionality. Actually deciding to allocate time to planning my everyday world helps me remain focused. Yes, we all have our regular routine around career and family but we need to ensure we’re also building capacity for growth and impact. I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life to realise I have lived well for me and then left my kids to fend for themselves. Similarly, I don’t wish to identify all those opportunities I had to make a difference in someone’s world but was so inwardly focused that I let them slip by.

If we want to achieve anything worthwhile, above and beyond the everyday, we need to be intentional.

Intentional about what we’re inputting physically, emotionally and spiritually. Intentional about how we’re investing our time. Intentional about allocating our resources.

Where are your intentions taking you?


Image credit: texelart / 123RF Stock Photo

Do you celebrate the win?

We have now celebrated both of my parent’s 80th birthdays. Gathering friends and family for these momentous occasions created fantastic memories for all concerned and highlighted the incredible impact my parents have had on many lives. These events have really shown me the value of celebrating the win.

The win may be big and obvious, it may be small and relatively nondescript. It may be personal or it could be public. Regardless, a win is a win and it is incredibly important for each of us to celebrate them.

Celebrating the win does a few things. It…

  •  rewards the effort required in securing the win,
  • identifies the impact and influence the win has upon others,
  • acknowledges all those who have journeyed with us,
  • encourages ourselves and others to persevere, and
  • shares the joy.

The win for my folks our lives well-lived and the many people whose lives are richer for having a relationship with my mum and dad. Having the opportunity to recognise their influence surrounded by their close friends was personally rewarding and satisfying.

An 80th birthday is a magnificent milestone but I am sure you and I have smaller milestones that need celebrating. Once we’ve scaled the mountain or we’re sitting atop the mound, let’s stop and reflect on the achievement before pressing on.

Let’s take the time to celebrate the win.


Image credit: iprostocks / 123RF Stock Photo