“Too Big to Fail” became more widely known in the American lexicon during the 2008 Great Recession. The American government intervened, provided assistance, and bailed out large companies or banks deemed “too big to fail” because their bankruptcy would cause tremendous damage to the economy. This is not an economic article, though, our relationship with failure is worth exploring as we strive to become the best versions of ourselves. How would our decisions change, if we were too big to fail?
Our relationship to failure and how we teach those in our charge have a tremendous impact on goals, relationships, and career paths. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research speaks to embracing failure as part of the learning process. Additionally, there are plenty of famous failures – providing inspiration for how we “bounce back” and use failure as motivation. Michael Jordan’s 1990s Nike commercial explained failure as “necessary” for his success. Kobe Bryant explained this concept further in an interview, going so far as expressing that failure does not even exist. Even the legendary Nelson Mandela weighed in on this topic once, stating, “I never lose, I either win or learn.”
On February 15, 1906 Susan B. Anthony, an 86 year old warrior for women’s suffrage, stood up and spoke up at a civil rights’ meeting. With regret she expressed that to this date women still did not have the right to vote. Then with optimism and encouragement she ended by expressing, though with the people in this room, “failure is impossible!” Failure is Impossible became the motto for the women’s suffrage movement. Although Susan B. Anthony did not live long enough to see this historic moment – women eventually were granted voting rights in 1920 – with the passing of the 19th amendment to the constitution.
Our relationship with failure will ultimately determine our success. If we take smart risks, learn lessons, and never quit – we, and what we stand for – will, essentially, become – Too Big to Fail.
I explore this issue in more depth in my Elite Journey Series – please consider taking a look. If you are interested in discounts or have any questions, you can always contact me directly.
Take care –