Failure a steppingstone to success

Failure Redefined: A Steppingstone to Success

5-Step Process to Stand Up After a Miserable Failure

We walked into one of our favorite local Asia restaurants, where we became friends with the owner. He had tears in his eyes when we asked about his life and business. “I have tried so hard to serve our customers, but one guy recently gave us a one-star review three days in a row. I reached out to him, and he said that he would report to the police for harassment. He added, “I feel like a failure.”

In her book, Hacking Executive Leadership, author Emily Sander wrote: “Everyone has “failed” at something at one point or another. Almost everyone has felt that dark pit of Failure in their stomach. Once this feeling sinks in, most people tend to quit to avoid feeling this way. They then turn around and call themselves a failure, and unfortunately, some people let it define them. These events and reactions can hold so many people back.”

I also once allowed a massive disappointment in my career to define me as a failure. Thank God, He walked me out of the bottomless pit of disappointment. You can find the whole story and how I walked out of it in my book, The Lens of Love.

Here is a 5-step process that guided me to redefine Failure and stand up after a colossal failure.

Step 1: Forgive those who have hurt you or played a part in the event of Failure and forgive yourself.

Step 2: Count your blessings. In this case, our restaurant owner shifted his eyes from ‘3 bad reviews’ to ‘240 good reviews’.

Step 3: Look forward and run your race. Comparing your event of Failure with someone else highlight of success is a trap of enemy to get you stuck in the past. You never know the sweat, tears, pain, and times behind someone else’s success.

Step 4: Quiet your spirit and have a conversation with God. Ask Him how He sees you.

Step 5: Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to see from a higher dimension (How God sees) – events of disappointment are steppingstones in an upwards progressive path.

I asked God about my corporate failure, as God often speaks to me in pictures. He showed me a creek with running water, where there are many steppingstones lined up from one side of the stream to the other. I felt that God was saying: each endeavor that I’ve undertaken is like a steppingstone. It is one step closer to a vision or fulfilling a dream.

God reminds me necessary seasons of seed, sowing, and harvest. In Psalms 107:37, King David says: “And sow fields and plant vineyards and gather a fruitful harvest.”

In our journey of fulfilling dreams, we fix our eyes on the goal and forget the necessary seasons of sowing and planting before harvesting. There is a mismatch between how I see and how God sees.  I am ready for harvest after a period of effort and investment. In God’s eyes, this period of effort and investment is still in the ‘sowing’ or ‘planting’ phase. The only way to align our perspective with God’s perspective is through a relationship with God. Relationship with God means seeking to hear Him in everyday life and aligning our thoughts and expectations with His thoughts because our ways and thoughts are lower than His, as in Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” You can learn more about building a relationship with God in my ‘Healing Relationship Coaching.’ 

According to author Emily Sander wrote in her book, Hacking Executive Leadership: “Failure has been in quotes up to this point because what most people consider Failure is progress in the making. This may be unpleasant to hear, but sometimes failure is a necessary stepping stone to success.”

Suppose we shift our vision from linear to spatial, which means changing our seeing from point A to point B to seeing things from aerial view or the 100 ft view. Then we will know that we are making progress. This shift in perspective allows us to be more patient towards ourselves and those around us.

Let’s go back to the story of our Asian restaurant owner. We led our friend to forgive the guy who left a one-star review and prayed for Jesus to heal his heart. We blessed his business.

He smiled at us and told us that his restaurant was a full house a couple of days later. He said, ‘thank you, Jesus’!

We serve a generous God who loves unconditionally.

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