by Scott Blakemore

Do we have Success and Failure all wrong?  Our culture loves to champion winners and tell their tale, but what about all the others?  Let’s be honest …  have you ever thought when someone fails, they somehow have a character defect?  I’ve been guilty at times.

It doesn’t help that we can microscopically manage our image through social media to promote our success and hide failures.  I know, we all have the smartest, cutest and most athletic children, an adoring spouse, the perfect home, an awesome job and a lovable, obedient dog … who never has accidents in the house!

Who are we kidding?  I fear only ourselves.

While it isn’t appropriate to be totally transparent with the world about all our challenges, I do believe it is critical to have close confidants with whom we can bare our struggles.  There is no shame in the struggle – it is normal and even beneficial.

I concur with Rev. Billy Graham’s quote:

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.”

We rarely talk about failure, but it is a common experience we all share.  I encourage my children to embrace when they fall short or face a challenge.  These are moments where we learn humility, compassion, and appreciation for those who persevere day after day after day.

I am often amazed at the stories of bravery and sacrifice from our wounded soldiers and their families.  While we may have troubles in our business or career (or a host of other areas), none of those problems usually affect our mobility.  Lost legs, arms and eyes forever change the game for them.  But what floors me is when they are asked if they would change anything, they often respond with ‘No’.  How could this be?

My conviction is through adversity, through struggle and hardship, we begin to understand who we are, what we are made of and that we are capable of so much more than we think.  Those who face real struggle and loss know this, and it is why they often say they wouldn’t change a thing.  They are better for it, even if the world around them only sees loss.

The same is true for you and me.  I am proud of the people and businesses in this issue who have overcome adversity, and I would guess their businesses are stronger and more resilient due to the challenges they have faced.

Life will happen and it will be challenging.  But I believe the best for us and the companies we work for is made possible through the adversity we face – and it enriches us.  Then we can use what we have learned and help others we know who are in the midst of their own adversity. That is where the real magic happens.

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