The 9 Ways You Can Fail When Success is Possible

It isn’t easy to be a failure. Failing isn’t an identity. However, it is quite possible to fail, and in some cases, failure is the likely outcome. Here are nine things that might cause to fail when success is possible.

  1. No Goal: The very first way you might fail is by not having a goal or an outcome you are pursuing. There is no greater failure than failing to reach your full potential, something no one has achieved, regardless of their level of success. Not having goals means failing even to try. The first way you might fail is to failing to decide what you want.
  2. No Plan: A goal without a plan to achieve it isn’t much better than not having a goal. A goal is a sort of destination, the outcome you are pursuing. Most people that fail to reach their goal do so as a result of not having developed a plan for achieving it. These first two ways you can fail, No Goal and No Plan, are tightly intertwined and difficult to tease apart. One is impotent without the other.
  3. No Effort: You will fail if you don’t execute your plan. Without putting forth the effort, taking action in pursuit of your goal or dream or outcome, you will fail. Success is in large part due to disciplined action over time, and almost always more effort than what you believed necessary, and always a longer time than you imagined or planned.
  4. No Focus: Ideas are easy. Focus is difficult. It requires that you give yourself over to something to the exclusion of everything else. The fox that chases two rabbits fails to catch either. It is almost a certainty you fail when you allow your attention to drift and whose you are distracted by every good idea that shows up as an enticing shiny object.
  5. No Persistence: Much failure is the result of giving up too soon. There is an old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The saying is precisely backward. It should read, “When the going gets tough, the tough gut it out for as long as it takes.” They aren’t going anywhere. The reason people fail is that when the going gets tough, those who fail give up. If you want to something, the way to get it is to persist.
  6. No Resourcefulness: The key to not giving up too soon and persisting over a long time it resourcefulness, the ability to try something new, something different, to be creative, and to figure things out. If you only have a Plan A, you increase your odds of failing. You need a Plan B, a Plan C, and as many variations as is necessary. When something doesn’t work, success requires you to change your strategy, change your approach, and make adjustments.
  7. No Growth: Competency. When you start something, you may lack the necessary skills to achieve your goal. However, over time, you can improve those skills and gain the competency. Almost any goal you can think if likely to cause you to grow in some way—at least the big meaningful goals that cause you to be more, do more, have more, and contribute more.
  8. No Intestinal Fortitude: The words “intestinal fortitude” means the courage to continue in the face of adversity. In pursuit of your goals and dreams, you will face obstacles that appear to be insurmountable. You will have moments of doubt, and the desire to give up will be overwhelming. Your rationalizing mind will give you a list of reasons quitting makes sense. Avoiding failure means having the intestinal fortitude to continue.
  9. Listening to Others: There will people who share with you their beliefs that you should give up, choose a different goal, compromise on what you want from your own life, and share with you how they did the same. Listening to these voices causes people to fail. The only voices you need listen to is the voice of your inner coach and all the people who support you in your pursuit.

If you are struggling to achieve your goal or generate a specific outcome, you will discover that one or more of these nine ways you can fail is to blame. Success is possible, but it requires you to reverse the causes listed here.

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