3 Reasons Coming Up Short Can Lead You to Greatness

None of us enjoy failure. In fact, there’s little we enjoy less. As an endurance runner, I can clearly remember those first few difficult runs when I was just getting into the sport. In the very beginning, every run is a challenge. You’re more concerned with crossing the finish line than you are making the best time.

It’s during this challenging stage when every run is a struggle that a lot of people quit. So many would-be runners drop out. Their training doesn’t go how they want it to go, they aren’t seeing the results they want to see, and maybe they don’t even finish their first race. Discouragement sets in.

Sometimes in life, you just come up short. Failure is a reality in life.

Failure, however, doesn’t have mean calling it quits. It doesn’t mean wallowing in self-pity or being constantly knocked down and defeated. Instead, coming up short can be the perfect opportunity to find greatness.


3 Reasons Your Failure Can Spur You on to Greatness

1) It shows you your limits.

One of the great things about failure is that it lets us know where our limits are. While this isn’t a fun experience, sometimes it’s a much-needed benchmark. We need these wake-up calls sometimes. Whether you fail personally or professionally, failure can exposure chinks in the armor that we need to address and improve upon if we hope to succeed in whatever it is we hope to accomplish.

We can’t hope to achieve greatness if we don’t know where we’re weak. Knowing your limitations through failure allows you to realize where you need to strive for improvement.

2) It humbles you.

When we think about greatness, humility isn’t usually the word that we pair with it. Coming up short, however, does just that. It humbles us like nothing else. Failure causes us to realize that we aren’t perfect. We aren’t the best. We aren’t always right, the most skilled, or the ones with all of the answers.

How does this lead to greatness? It leads to greatness when we embrace it. When we allow ourselves to be humbled, we can form stronger, more collaborative and healthy relationships with those around us. This is helpful no matter what our occupation or where we are in life. Relationships are critical to success and happiness. Humility makes relationships work!

3) It allows you to learn from experience.

So many people don’t ever want to try anything new for fear of failure. What they don’t understand is that everyone who has any real success at anything has failed and failed again on their path to success. That’s because they had to earn experience in order to attain achievement. Failure taught them. Because they continued to get up, and they continued to try, they were able to learn what did and did not work. Over and over again they did this until they had it all down to a fine art. Expertise is an extensive string of failures until you finally start to get it right.

Failure should not be viewed as a reason to quit, but instead as a sign that you have more to learn. You have limits you still need to test. This should be an exciting prospect, not a discouraging one.

If you find falling short brings you discouragement, try reframing it. None of us like to fail. But if you can begin to see failure as the opportunity that it truly is, then you will be able to improve yourself and move on to better, brighter things. Don’t let yourself miss out on the chance to be all that you can be!  

Allow yourself to see failure in a new way. When you come up short, push yourself to bounce back. You have it in you to jump back in the ring and do better again. They key is to actually learn and grow from your experiences. If you allow these moments to transform and refine who are, you’ll find that greatness is not some daunting achievement, but something accomplished in small efforts over time.

What failure in your life has taught you the most? Share your experience in the comments.