Bouncing back from defeat


A few weeks ago I came across a great sermon by my good friend, Joel Perttula who serves as a teaching pastor in Southern California. He spoke on a subject that most of us are fairly familiar with – failure. He highlighted some really important aspects of how we can overcome failure.

Joel referred to several notable athletes, coaches and others who had one thing in common; they didn’t let failure determine their end result. Here are four encouraging thoughts he shared that I wanted to relay to you about failure and how the people we look up to overcame those difficulties. I think they’ll encourage you as they encouraged me.

1. Failures should never define who we are nor limit who we can become. When Michael Jordan was asked to explain the secret behind his success, this is what he said: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

2. Failures become fatal only when we refuse to get back up. John Wooden, the former UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach, put it like this, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” Everyone gets knocked down from time to time, but the tenacity to get back up and try again is the key to success in every area of life.

3. Our capacity to learn from our mistakes and move forward is a sign of maturity and the key to living a successful life. Most people know that Michael Jordan made the NBA a worldwide phenomenon, but fewer people know that he was cut from his high school basketball team. If he had allowed this defeat to define his future, the number 23 basketball jersey would never have become the global symbol of aerial acrobatics.

4. While we mustn’t live to fail, we must make sure we don’t fail to live because we’re too afraid of failure. Everyone who wants to make a difference and unlock their full potential will from time to time make mistakes, but making mistakes should never become our reason for not stepping into the future.

Whether you’re an athlete, businessman, pastor, mentor, student or still figuring out what you’re going to do with your life, keep these four principles in mind. Failure is something we can learn from, it’s something that has the ability to teach us what we don’t know. If we deal with it correctly, it has the power to propel us to new levels of success in whatever position we hold.

Especially as leaders, we must never let failure keep us down. Maintaining a steadfast attitude to keep getting up and keep moving forward is the key to overcoming failure.

What failures tried to keep you down? How did you overcome them?