What a weird question, right?
We don’t often think of failures in positive terms like “favorite”. Yet successful people, or at least those with open mindsets, are quick to refer to failure as a chance to learn something. I was listening to a Tim Ferris hosted podcast based on his new book (which I asked Santa to bring me for Christmas) – Tribe of Mentors. He asks all of his guests the same basic questions. One of them is to explain their favorite failure.
It got me thinking. My favorite failure must be when I failed the national PT boards in 2001. I failed that test the same week I discovered that I was going to be a father. It was a turning point for me. Testing had always come easy for me, and I admit to being ill-prepared. I had done my usual shoddy job in preparation, and simply wasn’t good enough when pressed.
But now I had a real problem. I couldn’t practice therapy until I passed this test. And suddenly it wasn’t just “me” to think about – I was about to be a father, and had only very recently become a husband. Big paradigm shift. I swallowed my pride (something I wicked at). I got help (something I sucked at even more). I put the work in. I did it for my new family.
I passed. I could provide for my wife and child. I learned how to give 100% to something. I learned about myself.
I’ve failed plenty of times since, but I try and recognize failures as a chance to course-correct and grow.
Which I guess begs the question: