Success Isn’t Forever and Failure Isn’t Fatal

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their preparation of and response to failure.” –John C. Maxwell

If at first you do succeed, try something harder.

As I grow older, two ideas are getting ingrained in my head more and more:

  1. Success isn’t forever.
  2. Failure isn’t fatal.

How true that is!

I’m reminded of a story my friend told me about a 10-year high school reunion. He was in a conversation with the former quarterback of his schools’ football team. The former quarterback only talked about the glory days of his high school football career 10 years ago and never once mentioned anything significant he had done since then.

My friend wondered if the former quarterback had accomplished anything since he graduated from high school. The quarterback was living in the past. That type of living caused him to not move forward and grow.

I wish so badly that one success in my past could sustain me and my ministry forever. The fact is that most successes are short lived. My problem is this:

  • I value my past success so much that I only look towards the past and not towards the future.
  • When I succeed, I sometimes think that I’ve arrived. That’s when I stop trying.

When I succeed at something, I need to take a moment, pat myself on the back, say to myself, ‘good job,’ and then start working towards the next success.

At the same time, failure is not something to be feared. It is something to be embraced.

What I enjoy about my ministry now is that I have been given permission to throw things up on the wall and see what sticks. We have been given permission to be creative. Whatever sticks to the wall, we continue with. Whatever falls off the wall, we stop doing.

The only way I know what sticks and what doesn’t is to try different things. That means I’m going to fail. But I’ve learned these two things:

  • Failure is when we learn and grow the most.
  • I will never be perfect, so I better get used to failure.

Feel comfortable with failure. If you cannot embrace failure, you will have a difficult time risking and trying new things. When we embrace failure, that’s when we are more likely to be successful.

Remember, success isn’t forever and failure isn’t fatal.

Question: In what ways can you change your attitude on success and failure?

 

Here is a summary of posts for the “The 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned in Ministry” series:

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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