Failing Our Way To Greatness

“There’s something humbling about having goals and going after them and not accomplishing them… Because, that’s real.” - Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach is one of the most accomplished soccer players the world has ever seen. She has scored more international goals than any player in soccer history, male or female.

When Abby sat down with Joe Buck on his show Undeniable they talked about the experience of losing her High School State Championship game though her team was up 3-0 late in the second half.

Throughout the show Joe highlighted Abby’s successes, but what I found most inspiring was the way in which she talked about her failures. While you could sense Abby’s competitiveness and frustration with past failures, there was also this incredible reverence for them. A felt appreciation for the role those failures played in her ultimate success. An invitation, almost, for us to embrace the humbling reality of NOT achieving what we set out to accomplish because of what that failure does to bring us closer to greatness.

Studies have consistently shown that as human beings our greatest fears are failure and death.

Recently I came across a quote by Marie Curie that read, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”

The Mount Ida design college in Massachusetts currently features an exhibition called Permission to Fail. "The curator asked a group of 50 prestigious designers and illustrators to send in their mess-ups, rough drafts and preliminary sketches so that they could be put on display.” The point is to teach students that the process is messy and that the "great ones" are repeatedly imperfect before creating a masterpiece.

If we can understand the valuable role that failure plays in our success, could we then embrace it instead of fear it? Can establishing a radically different relationship with our own failure truly open up a new world of success?

I think it can.

As strange as it sounds, I wish you much failure in the weeks ahead and look forward to sharing in your inevitable success.