Failure is an Option

by Waldo Waldman, Lt. Col. CSP

RisksWhen I flew in combat, the risk of failure was always present. I could have an aircraft malfunction, mess up a critical maneuver, or even get shot down. Success was never guaranteed. Success never is.

The possibility of failing at something is a beautiful thing. It incites risk and even helps eliminate complacency.

When something is at risk, fear, anxiety and doubt can result. But risk also forces you to stretch yourself and grow. It makes you train, focus, and contingency plan with a greater sense of discipline and attention to detail. And when you train, focus, and plan to the best of your ability, guess what normally results? Success.

Here’s what else happens: you build confidence, ability, experience, resilience and most of all, trust, in the most important wingman you have in your life…yourself.

If you want to take your business or life to new heights, try something where there’s a possibility you’ll fail. Be willing to stretch yourself and push your personal envelope. Step outside your comfort zone. Perform in the face of fear.

Top Gun winners in life take-off and fly even when there is a chance they’ll get shot at or fail. They face their fear, strap in, and fly the tough missions when others stay in the hangar of mediocrity.

Winners prepare for failure and in doing so, avoid it.

But winners also accept that they may fail, regardless of how much they prepare. They embrace failure as an opportunity to grow.

So here’s a question: When the tough missions come, what will you do?

Yes – failure is always an option. Just do your part to avoid it. And don’t make it an option that chooses you.

If you found these tips from Rob “Waldo” Waldman, Lt. Col. CSP of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at

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