What do you think of the word “failure”?  I believe that your relationship with this one word can change your life. 

Navigating recent challenges, I’ve witnessed the multifaceted nature of “failure”:

  1. Heart failure. A personal health scare forced a pause—my loved one endured critical heart surgery, reminding us to treasure every moment together.
  2. Exam failure. My son faced the sting of disappointment, faltering at his first driving test. Yet, it’s merely an early life lesson in perseverance.
  3. Work failure. Professionally, a potential client and I mutually recognized our misaligned values, leading to parted ways—a testament to the importance of synergy.

In these instances, the power of focus becomes clear,  magnifying what we choose to see. Embracing the present is key, even when times are tough, as there’s always something to appreciate.

Reframing is my superpower, so reframing failure into feedback, I take these lessons to heart:

  1. I’m thankful for my loved one’s resilience and the shared moments ahead.
  2. I see my son’s setback as a step toward eventual triumph and growth.
  3. A client’s rejection becomes a victory in my selective partnership approach.

My mantra has long been failure = feedback. And feedback is knowledge and knowledge is power. Therefore, failure is power. Embracing failure is where knowledge forms and power grows.  More failure = more growth.  

I recently watched the film Nyad, documenting Diana Nyad’s  inspirational quest to achieve an extreme dream: swimming from Cuba to Florida, a feat she famously completed in 2013 on her fifth attempt, at the age of 64.  In her TED talk of the same year, Never Ever Give up, Nyad shares her experiences of pushing through physical and mental barriers, the importance of perseverance, and the lessons she learned from not accepting failure. Her message is one of hope, resilience, and the belief that it’s never too late to chase your dreams.

Failure, to me, is not a setback but a source of insight. Each obstacle is an opportunity to learn and a reminder that life’s events have purpose.

Indeed, last Saturday, on my way to the airport, an unexpected Pullman arrived in the train station, urging a platform changeover. This minor hiccup and irritation in carrying my suitcase up and downs the stairs, turned into opportunity—the camera and I seized some great images of this elegant locomotive. I’m reminded that oftentimes, it’s the unplanned detours that enrich our journey.

What recent setbacks have offered you valuable lessons?