Fail or flourish. Why are we made to make this choice? Doesn't one lead to the other?
I recently posted a video of a young student trying to jump over a high solid hurdle to land on soft mats on the other side. After three attempts of just barely touching the top, he looked defeated with his head bowed low.
Suddenly, a large group of classmates surrounds him like a halftime huddle to offer support and words to help him on his way. Their cheers gave this little guy, I believe, the courage to flourish since he knew that this group was there for him. This young man then vaulted over the hurdle like a pro!
What does it take to flourish?
I believe if you are not failing that you are not trying hard enough. For example, Rob and I are taking the te reo Maori class at Te Wananga o Aotearoa and I can assure you that when I mispronounce a word or use a past tense for the future, I am told by the kaiko (teacher).
However, rather than chastising me for getting it wrong (again), the kaiko guides me down the correct path in a safe and friendly environment. The values, or kawa, of Te Wananga o Aotearoa are to learn in a safe and enjoyable environment.
What does it take to flourish? From personal experience and from years of research, I have learned that to flourish takes focus, a curiosity, sense of joy, purpose, heaps of support, and embracing that you may fail. Let me explain.
When I made the decision to move to Auckland 25 years ago, I was in a really good space in Manhattan in terms of friends, family and profession. But, I was curious about what it would be like to try to live in a place that was far away and foreign. And a place where I knew two people and had only visited for 10 days. It just felt right - still does, but there's more.
I was curious about New Zealand and this part of the world. I experienced joy at every corner with new sights, sounds, ways of working and being. I was focused on finding my place and my purpose was - and still is - to use the skills I have developed over decades to help others tell their stories via public relations and events.
After several attempts, like the young man jumping over the hurdle, I started my own company which exists today. I'd love to say it's only been smooth sailing, but reality shows that it has been difficult at times. I've failed and therefore learned and flourished because of it. And, for this, I am thankful.
Moving to Whanganui has also presented opportunities to flourish and the chance to fail. I have been bullied, which is never acceptable and have felt isolated at times. But, I am here today to tell you that because of my focus, curiosity, sense of joy, purpose and the support I have from many, I am in a flourishing phase.
I recommend to you: if you feel you have to choose between flourish or fail, choose both! Life is full of surprises, opportunities and challenges.
Choose to savour the joys of hard work and celebrate the fact that we can all overcome adversity.
So, ask yourself, how can you support others embrace failure as learning to flourish?