In a recent executive coaching session with a Senior Manager we had an interesting conversation about being motivated by failure.
As an NLP Practitioner, I have always liked the pre-supposition ‘there is no failure only feedback’. For me ‘failure’ is a really negative word (a bit like ‘weakness’ too!). So by reframing my mindset, that if I did not succeed I can learn from it and move on, has really helped my perception of failure.
For this Senior Manager he actually liked to get to failure. He would push himself out of his comfort zone until he got to failure. For him failure was not reaching the standards that he expected for himself. By doing this for himself he got highly motivated to achieve even on very difficult tasks.
I have seen this technique used in exercise too. I noticed the You Tuber ‘Millionaire Hoy’ will push a person to exercise to their failure point – in other words when you feel you cannot do one more bicep curl. By doing this it means that you push yourself to your exercise limit. If you can ‘overload’ (without injury or pain) in exercise then you can get fitter.
All of these thought processes are right for some people as they spur the person on to their potential. The real issue is when the mindset of failure is limiting to a person and they cannot get motivated or reach their personal potential of growth.
These are the types of discussions we have on our leadership programmes around motivating people to perform. I start the conversation with the quote ‘motivation is based on inspiration or desperation’. Often desperation can be used to spur someone on and motivate them.
A tip for your own personal motivation is to create a positive journal. Each week try to write down what you have achieved and if it’s been a bad week – reflect on what you have learnt and how you can do things differently. By writing this down it can be empowering and also help you focus. An achievement diary can also help you build resilience when things are tough.