Last Week, Leslie Odom Jr. won the 2016 Tony Award for best actor in a musical. His portrayal of Aaron Burr in the Smash hit, Hamilton, has won him immense acclaim for his performance. Not only is Leslie an amazing actor, but his singing and dancing is phenomenal.
But Leslie was not always as successful in his chosen profession of acting. Leslie stated that he has gone on hundreds of auditions which resulted in failure, but each of those failures made him stronger for the next audition. When the time was right, he was mentally and physically prepared for his audition for Hamilton, and the rest is history (revolutionarily speaking).
Leslie Odom Jr. is the prototypical example of the “iceberg profile” of success. We only see the tip of the success iceberg. We don’t see the hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of failures, which make up most of our experiences. Thus, we believe that success came easily without the difficulties that most of us all face when achieving our dreams.
But more importantly, how do we reach the tip of our success iceberg without sinking?
Do as Leslie Odom Jr suggests: Fail Forward. Don’t look at that failed interview or failed client interaction as a move backward in your career. Actually, that negative experience will move you forward to the tip of your success iceberg with the right strategies. Here are 3 easy ways to fail forward:
1) Record your mistakes. Write down at least 3 mistakes you made in your last failure experience at work. Perhaps it was a bad presentation or a failed closing of a sale.
2) Learn from your mistakes. Next, write down one lesson you learned from each of those mistakes. For instance, you may have spoken too fast at your last presentation and appeared less confident as a result.
3) Implement your lesson. Be mentally prepared to slow down your pace of speech when you speak at your next presentation, knowing that you may speed up with added pressure.
As the legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Failure is not failure unless it is failure to change”. Make it a habit to fail forward and you will propel yourself to the tip of your success iceberg!
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. He is the author of the Washington Post bestselling business book, “Full Throttle.” Steinberg coaches executives and speaks about emotional toughness to Fortune 500 companies. Visit www.drgreggsteinberg.com and see his TED talk about super-resilience at http://tinyurl.com/o2anxsz. Dr. Gregg is a motivational speaker who lives in Nashville, TN.