Years ago I worked for an organization with an informal motto of Failure is not an acceptable outcome.  It was liberating.

When you remove failure as an outcome, interesting things happen — creativity increases and lack of success only motivates you more. The most you can experience is a temporary setback.  Anything that’s possible becomes probable.

I also once worked for a company where failure was discussed and even planned for — as a management team we put plans in place to re-size the company in the face of a tough marketplace.  The plans were contingencies should we not be able to hit particular revenue objectives.  Not surprisingly, we closed the company a couple years later — executing the plan we outlined if such an event were necessary. Failure was accepted as a possibility and we helped it happen.

To be sure, life isn’t as simple as working hard and thinking positively.  But both go  along way toward success.

In sales, not accepting failure as an outcome means we do what it takes to reach and exceed quota:

  • make another call
  • request another meeting
  • find a partner
  • seek advice
  • leverage co-workers
  • ask the stupid questions

Not accepting failure as a possibility is about not giving up.

Dan Waldschmidt wrote an excellent post on how not giving up has always been the secret to making the right decisions and achieving the success that you want for you. It’s a good read you ought to consider.

UPDATE: Michael McLaughlin also wrote a great post related to the topic of success you ought to give a read, offering his experience top performers share three characteristics that they cultivate in themselves over time: confidence, courage, and commitment.

So, how about you? Is failure a possibility in your professional life that you plan for? Have you accepted it as a possible outcome? Or are you continuing to do whatever it takes to create the success you desire?

What’s your secret to success?

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