Norton: Fortitude in the face of failure |

Norton: Fortitude in the face of failure

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

Sometimes we get so caught up in either one or the other — it’s our success or our perceived failure. And it’s not until we are reminded to consciously think about it that we remember that the two really do go hand in hand. 

And all too often our perceived failures become our realities. You might agree that when that perception becomes our reality, maintaining our motivation and enthusiasm becomes hard, and even harder with each failed attempt. 

A failed attempt is exactly what it is, a failed attempt. It is not a failure at all, it’s just one more opportunity to test our enthusiasm and resiliency. I don’t know about you, but if I have a failed attempt at anything, I just can’t wait to try again. A lost sale? Show me the next prospect. A missed basket? Give me the ball again. A sliced drive? I’ll take it as I am hitting three off the tee. I just can’t wait to get back in the game.

It’s a sense of wanting to try again, it’s a feeling that even though we lost or made a mistake, we ask to be put back in the game or we put ourselves back in the game. Failure isn’t failing, it’s actually just putting us back in a position to want whatever it is we failed at or lost even more. It drives us to a place of fortitude.

Now, if the “it” is something we do not have passion for or a task or event where we were half-hearted from the beginning, that is a different story. Because if we think we failed there, we didn’t. I say that because if we are not connected to the outcome physically, spiritually, or emotionally, then it was just something we tried and nothing more. No failure here.

A fighter doesn’t lose a fight because they get knocked down, they lose a fight because they stay down. As we go through life, we are going to get knocked down. We will get knocked down at work, at home, when we are playing, and when we are doing just about anything. And we should expect it to happen. No one gets through life without spending a few minutes on the ground. It’s when we hear the referee counting, and before he or she gets to 10, we pick ourselves up to get back in the ring, back in the game.

“Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday really did end last night.” — Zig Ziglar

I happen to quote Zig Ziglar a lot. If you read this column frequently you already know this. If this happens to be the first column of mine that you have ever read, do yourself a favor and look up Zig Ziglar and buy some of his books or materials.

Zig Ziglar was the world’s No. 1 motivator. His message, weaved throughout his entire body of work, is all about hope and encouragement. Zig Ziglar’s teachings far surpassed any sales training or other personal and professional training that I had ever completed. Why? Because his focus was specifically on teaching all of us the importance of fortitude in the face of failure, hope and encouragement, and a life built on faith.

When we get knocked down or slowed down, and it will happen. I hope that we will remember that failed attempts are awesome. They are never a reason to quit, they are the exact opposite, failed attempts are the reason we push forward, they are the fuel behind our passion and drive to succeed.

So how about you? Have you had a recent setback? Did it stop you or propel you forward? Either way I would love to hear your failed attempt and success story at And when we let our fortitude surpass our failed attempts, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the Chief Revenue Officer for Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant, business, and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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