Failure isn’t Final

Photo by William Fitzgibbon on Unsplash

What I Learned from the Circus

We have all been told that failure isn’t final. Yet at times, we don’t believe it. There is a story of a well known actor who, before he made it big, applied for a job at the circus. His tryout for the circus included performing on the parallel bars. Half way through his performance, he fell off the bars and landed flat on the ground. He quickly got back up and started his performance again. When he got to the same place in the performance, he again fell to the ground. This time even harder. With cuts all over and blood on his face, he went back to the parallel bars to try again, with more gusto than before. He was confident this time he would be able to do it. But for a third time, he crashed to the ground. He got up, bloodied and went for the bars again. The ring master stopped him and said “If you stop doing this, I will hire you”.

Failure isn’t Final

I find this an interesting real life story that may parallel your life similarly to how at times, it has paralleled mine. Are you failing at something and trying to do it again and again with this determined self suffering? The truth is, FAILURE is required to learn and grow, but it is what we do with our failure that counts.

There are typically three responses to situations like this.

  1. We can do what he did with his circus tryout and just keep trying all the while getting more and more bruised and bloodied never quite accomplishing what we set out to do;
  2. We can quit all together for fear of failing again;
  3. Or we can evaluate what is causing our failure, tweak and try again.

Get to the Root Cause

Determining the root cause of the failure is vital to course correcting and not repeating the issue. Often times, we just solve for what we think is the culprit. The best way to get to the root cause is to ask yourself, Why did this happen? Then, ask Why again, and again. Ultimately, you will get to the root cause. This is called the 5 Whys. Sometimes you can get to the root in less than 5 why’s, don’t get stuck on the number of times it takes to get to the answer.

Time to Jump In

Does this story resonate with you? Is there something you are trying to accomplish but for some reason it isn’t quite working out and you aren’t sure where to go next?

Perhaps you have been working with your team, trying to teach them how to drive results or create remarkable customer experiences…yet when you aren’t at the store, things aren’t going right, and they aren’t performing to your standards. Maybe you just keep going back and coaching again and again but it isn’t working? So you just determine you will do it all yourself. If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me just share from my own experience, doing it all yourself doesn’t work, EVER. And trying just stops you from growing.

Truth is, there is a solution. If you keep doing it the same way, you will keep getting the same outcome. It is time to think differently about how you are training your team or whatever the “thing” is that you are struggling with.

I promise you, FAILURE ISN’T FINAL! If you are stuck, reach out to me at I am listening…

With Gratitude,


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