When it comes to success in business and life, most people try to avoid failure like the plague. But Al Angrisani, investor and former United States Assistant Secretary of Labor for President Ronald Reagan, says that facing the consequences of failure is a good thing.
"In Washington failure and success are not based on accountability and specific deliverables," Angrisani said. "Although ... politicians speak to achieving specific solutions to problems there is no follow through with immediate consequences for success or failure to achieve the solution."
On the other hand, Al Angrisani said individuals and corporations alike can learn a great deal from falling flat on their faces, specifically because they face serious consequences. In Angrisani's new book From Last to First: Ten-Life Changing Steps to Wealth and Success, the author illuminates the lessons he's learned from more than 25 years of helping troubled and underperforming companies.
With over twenty five years helping troubled and underperforming companies, Al Angrisani has learned how to turn failure into success and create new shareholder wealth. He breaks down what those who aren't in the top 1 percent can do to change their lives with concrete tips for wealth creation.
Al Angrisani believes we always retain the power to change our own lives, even when the deck is stacked against us. I asked him to share with us the key takeaways he's learned from failing businesses that individuals can apply to their personal lives.
1. Understand the need to take responsibility for your life.
The first step to learning from your failures is to agonize over what lead you to disaster in the first place. By understanding the reality of the situation, we can begin to grow and recover.
"Failure is the ultimate manifestation of reality," Angrisani said. "My methodology for bringing home the consequences of failure is to painfully walk the individual thru the decisions and choices that were made that led up to the failure. I try to impress on the person that we all make bad decisions and choices and it is critical to trace our failures back the specific decision and choices that caused the failure."
Once a clear understanding of reality has been restored, we can move forward in a better way, without repeating the same old mistakes.
2. Recognize failure as one of life's greatest gifts.
The fear of failure often permeates our society at every level, but part of harnessing failure for all its lessons is recognizing it as one of life's greatest gifts. Although the lessons are painful, we must shake of the conditioning that persuades us to deny and avoid.
"People miss failure's lessons because the lessons are painful," Angrisani said. "Modern society has conditioned people to avoid pain by avoiding accountability and self-medicating through denial ... As a victim, you are not accountable for the decisions and choices you made that caused you to fail. It's a very comfortable place to live."
Unfortunately for the victimized mentality comfort does not breed growth. If you want to grow and eclipse your previous failures, you need to accept the reality that they reflected. While sometimes those realities are based in part on external factors, they also almost always reflect on our decisions and actions as well. Analyzing those and course correcting is crucial.
3. After facing failure head-on, success and wealth are just a few steps away.
But fear not. After your worst failure, success and wealth could just be a few steps away. What you make of failure, even if the road to recovery seems long and arduous, determines whether or not you will be successful moving forward, in whatever endeavors you pursue.
"Perspective is everything," Al Angrisani said. "In the human experience, failure is as essential to an individual's growth and development as food, water, sleep, education, etc. Unfortunately, when people enter the real world of work and business and life, they are unable to properly put into perspective the role of failure and how to manage it."
But even a failure to properly manage failure can lead to success! Recognizing failures critical role in helping us strive for better and develop can help us shift our perspective toward the concept of failure entirely. From then on out, each failure life presents us can be seen as an opportunity to get better, faster, and more adaptable.