Risk, Success and Failure

Sign post with Failure and SuccessI came across this quote last week:

Success and failure. We think of them as opposites, but they’re really not. They’re companions – the hero and the sidekick. – Laurence Shames

Interesting quote isn’t it?

I thought of it again over the weekend when I was given the topic of risk to discuss with the Jr. High youth group. The focus was on making your own decisions versus other people making decisions for you. So, we talked about risk, success and failure.

This week the speaker at an event I was at spoke briefly about taking risks and how some failures really set you up for your next success.

Sitting in the audience I was suddenly struck by how often the topic of risk, success and failure had come across my path in the last week.


If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try – you don’t take the risk. – Rosalynn Carter

I searched through my collection of quotes, looking for ones about success, and this one stuck out.

You see, last week I set some pretty ambitious goals for myself in the coming months, but they are possible with time and attention. I wondered out loud if I was expecting too much of myself in too little time. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I won’t meet some of the goals I set. Perhaps I will fail. And perhaps in failing I’ll be that much closer to another opportunity. Perhaps I’ll still have accomplished more in the failure than I would have if I never tried.

But maybe, just maybe I’ll succeed.

Success and failure, hero and sidekick. I’d wager that success usually follows what looks like failure. We just don’t always hear about the failure. We’d rather hear about the success – the hero of the story, right? But the sidekick is there, quietly supporting the hero in lessons learned.

What does this mean to you?

  1. Risk, success and failure. How do those play out in your life? In your business?
  2. What topics or ideas seem to be appearing over and over again? What do they mean to you? Why are you noticing them?

I’d love for you to share your observations in the comments below.

And I’ll leave you with one last quote:

So fail.
Be bad at things.
Be embarrassed.
Be afraid.
Be vulnerable.

Go out on a limb or two or twelve, and you will fall and it’ll hurt. But the harder you fall, the farther you will rise. The louder you fall, the clearer your future becomes. Failure is a gift, welcome it.

There are people who spend their whole lives wondering how they became the people they became, how certain chances passed them by, why they didn’t take the road less traveled.

Those people aren’t you.

You have front row seats to your own transformation, and in transforming yourself, you might even transform the world. And it will be electric, and I promise you it will be terrifying.

Embrace that; embrace the new person you’re becoming.

This is your moment.

I promise you, it is now, now, not two minutes from now, not tomorrow, but really now. Own that; know that deep in your bones. And go to sleep every night knowing that, wake up every morning remembering that.

And then… keep going.

– Unknown (emphasis added)