The topic of failure has always been a tough one for me because I’m extremely competitive, driven by the desire to win, and I set extremely high goals to the point that even when I come up short, it’s still considered a win to everyone else. Competing in sports all my life, and being the youngest of 3 ultra-competitive siblings, I developed a culture of not just competing, but winning. I used to believe that winning was in my blood. I was so obsessed with winning that there didn’t even need to be a prize… I would lay it all on the line just for the sake of winning. This is one of my biggest strengths, but at the same time, my ultimate weakness.

Going from working at Marcus & Millichap, one of the largest real estate investment brokerages in the country, to working at Positive Coaching Alliance, a non-profit organization that elevates the life lessons we learn through sports, has completely changed the course of my thinking when it comes to success vs. failure or winning vs. losing. On one hand, I was obsessed with winning and competing, beating you or anyone else that tried to compete against me. And on the other hand, I still compete fiercely, but I focus on the process, the learning experience and growing myself more and more each day. Which hand sounds healthier to you?

Believe it or not, failure is healthy to overall development because we learn much more from failing than we do from succeeding. If you have two ears and a mouth, you’re going to fail at some point…it’s inevitable. You’re not always going to come out on top 100% of the time, and that’s okay! Don’t get me wrong, I am not sitting over here asking for failure… like, “Yes God! Give me failure so I can learn!” No… I am constantly asking for favor in all areas of my life. Let’s be real, if I had the choice to win or lose, I pick win every time. But as I think about the significant successes I have accomplished to date, I realize that anything worthwhile that I have ever accomplished took more than one attempt to get it. It never happened over night. My plans don’t always work like I thought they would, but I ask God to teach me and give me the wisdom to recognize and understand how He’s working in my life.

God had a purpose for your life long before you ever had a plan for yourself. So if your plan has failed, don’t trip! Sometimes your plans have to fail so God’s purpose can prevail.

Sports taught me how to manage failure and bounce back; after all…sports is the safest place for kids to fail. Our most significant successes are preceded by a series of challenges and attempts that didn’t quite produce the results we were initially striving to achieve.

I LOVE to win, but the older I get, the more respect I have for failure. I have developed a healthier (it’s not quite healthy yet, but it’s healthier) respect for failure, seeing it as a part of the continuum to success, not the final result. Remember, the opposite of success is not failure; it’s not trying in the first place…it’s giving up! Never let a temporary setback be a permanent defeat. Failing is God’s way of telling you “keep going, I’ve got something better for you, but you have to keep going. It’ll work out when I tell it to.” I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Denis Waitley:

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Blessings and love,

Marti Reed

Marti Reed