By Tonya Twitchell

In the previous issue of Las Vegas Woman magazine, I challenged you to begin living your life through the lens of your intended legacy. I asked you to consider the legacy you have created to date and to evaluate the extent to which it is a legacy of design or a legacy of default. As I have considered this question in my own life, I was reminded of the power of intentional, strategic practice.

Many years ago, I read the book “Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else” by Geoff Colvin. What resonated with me the most was this: The greatest athletes, performers, inventors, leaders, etc. did not become great simply because they were born great. These individuals were born human. And then, unlike many of us, they did the work. Lots of work. They intentionally and strategically practiced for hours, days, weeks, months and years. They surrounded themselves with people who would teach them, challenge them, provide honest feedback, coach them, and so on. They had many missteps, many failures, many moments of doubt and confusion. Yet, through it all, they kept getting back up and starting again.

What I loved then and what I love now is that this book provides tangible, specific evidence of the value and importance of championing ourselves and our possibilities. Each of the individuals described in this book had to learn to become their own very best champion. They had to be willing to do the things I have been challenging and inviting you to do. The most successful of these individuals realized that it is far easier to champion yourself when you are surrounded by people who are your champions. They succeeded because they were willing to be authentic, open and brave. They succeeded because they were willing to tell the truth—to themselves and to their champions—about the moments when they felt least successful. About the moments when they were failing or feared failing. Most importantly, they had to be willing to tell the truth about what failure, and those moments of failure, meant about them, about who they were and could be. The answer, as it turns out, is this: Failure is simply a part of the journey. Failure is a thing; a tool that we can use (if we choose) to make us better, stronger, smarter. Failure is something that can provide great insight and learning, especially when we have smart, insightful people (coaches, teachers and champions) around us to help us leverage it. Failure is something that is outside of us; until, that is, we make the choice to let it in.

When in your life have you allowed failure to enter your persona, into your being? When in your life have you allowed your failures to define you rather than becoming a tool or guide to support you in moving forward from that moment? Where have you allowed failure—or perhaps the possibility of it—to shut you down or make you small? When have you held back from trying, doing, dreaming because the thought of failing at it caused you to question whether you could or would survive?

I invite you to reconsider your relationship and perspective on failure.

This season, I invite you to reconsider your relationship and perspective on failure. I challenge you to invite failure toward you … to consider failure as a friend—a necessity even—on your journey to become the greatest and most talented version of you that you choose and want to be. I encourage you to stay connected to your legacy. To think about what is most important to you and own it. Set aside the need, or sense that you need, to explain or justify it. Champion yourself and your desires and do it loudly! Consider the failures you need to get to and through quickly on the journey to your legacy, and then be intentional and strategic and urgent about taking them on. Surround yourself with other champions. Share with them the fears that will want to hold you back or stop you from starting. Remind them that failure is your new teacher and ask them to help you in uncovering the lessons that may only be available in the failures you step through.

Talent and greatness are available to each of us. I am a champion of people and possibilities, and I believe this at my core. I also know that nothing comes to us without intention, effort and the willingness to speak and own our truths. Remember that you are amazing and important. Remember that you are the only one who can design and create the legacy you are here to live and leave. Step boldly and bravely toward your failures. Engage with them. Celebrate them. And remember to laugh and play along the way.

Tonya Twitchell is a champion of people and possibilities. In her work with individuals, teams, and corporations, Tonya provides training, coaching, and public speaking about the importance and intersection of leadership and legacy. For more information, visit www.tonyatwitchell.com, linkedin.com/in/tonyatwitchell, or email Tonya at Tonya@TonyaTwitchell.com.

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