Thanking at the Bottom
We’ve all been there – the depths of despair, bottom of the barrel, lowest rung on the corporate or career ladder. They are not the most fun places to be, for sure. The feelings that accompany such locales, whether literal or figurative, are also not happy feelings. Failure is not the first thing we think of when we think about things for which to be grateful. How many of us fail and instantly give thanks for failing?
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison saw failure as the first step towards success. Sir Winston Churchill once said “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” Picking one’s self up after failure is hard but the best way to start is by giving thanks.
What? Give thanks for not being successful, for…failing? Yes. As Paul Coelho explained: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” We have all heard that the journey is more important than the destination and when it comes to living gratitude, that idea is certainly the truth. Your failure is not a condemnation of who you are. Rather, it is a declaration that you had the courage to try.
A host on the first season of the HGTV series, Nick Waldner has what he calls a “theme” in his company Waldner Winters. It is something called “Fall Forward Friday”. The Maryland native owns a real estate company and each Friday he gathers his team together and they share what they feel has been their biggest failure of the week. They then discuss what lessons were learned from this failure and how the next week will be better because of said failure and the resulting lessons learned.
Waldner explains: “Fall Forward Friday is a great way to show our team how failure fits in with success. We learn more from failures than we do success … IF we learn from it and improve. Embrace your failures. The faster you fall, the closer you are to success.” Waldner believes that success is a real thing which leaves clues for us to uncover. By learning from the past, once can be successful in the future.
We need to begin our living gratitude by giving thanks for those things we feel knocked us down to the bottom, for those times we failed or were not successful. Once we have embraced the bottom, then we can climb up and reach success. Waldner encourages everyone to remember that failure is just a step, not finality. “Take the leap. We don’t learn anything preparing to do something. We learn through action. Fail faster and fail forward.”
The poet Maya Angelou knew the importance of giving thanks for where we are at in every moment. “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” If today you still have goals and are only thinking of your less than spectacular attempts to attain those goals, stop and give thanks. Thanking at the bottom buys us a ticket to our next stop in living an extraordinary life and reaching our goals.