I was interviewed a few years ago for a leadership podcast. One of the questions took me by surprise. I have been interviewed for podcasts many times, so answers usually come fairly easily.
They didn’t this time. At least to this question.
What has been your greatest success in life and what did you learn from it?
I should have probably had an answer ready, but I don’t think I have ever kept a mental record of successes. I tend to think in terms of what I can do better, what I need to know, or how we did on the last whatever we just did.
I didn’t have an easy answer.
The first answer, which came to mind:
“Apart from knowing Christ and being known by Him, my greatest success has been failure.”
Then I took my interviewer by surprise, until I went on to explain.
I began to tell him I felt successful in my ability to have a failure and then get back up and try again.
I feel most successful when I keep going in spite of the obstacles around me.
Having had plenty of time to think about my answer I’m sticking with it.
The truth is I have had lots of failure. I’ve been on the bottom several times and, by God’s grace and through commitment and perseverance, I always climbed back.
I have failed in so many different areas of my life too – in professional and personal life.
And, here’s what I’ve observed:
I’ve gained my greatest lessons from life through the hardest times of my life.
And, something tells me I’m not finished learning.
I’m not sharing this to boast about anything in my life. In fact, if failure has taught me anything it has taught me humility.
I share it to encourage you. You may feel discouraged today. Maybe you are a pastor and you’ll read this on a Monday. You may have just about lost all hope. You may feel a complete failure – like the best of life is past for you.
I am here to tell you it’s not! You can stand strong again. By God’s grace – and through commitment and perseverance – you can climb the mountain again.
By the way – this is almost always the story of people who experience success. You often only see them when they’re standing, but you didn’t see the times they fell.
Your greatest success in life may be your ability to endure through the hard times – even through failure – get up and move forward again.
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It is a difficult thing to crash and burn. Right now I find myself in the middle of probably the greatest failure in my life and ministry, yet I cannot see a reason for it. Right when things were moving towards the pinnacle of 'success' there has been a huge reversal. There has been no moral failure, no 'sin in the camp', rather a succession of events outside of my control which have brought me to a place of utter contempt. I feel wasted and broken on the inside.
I have been reading your blog for a while now, your words are encouraging… thank you. If, like you say, there is a future success, through commitment and perseverance, then it must be just around the corner…
Praying for you now. There is.