Though a fruitful exercise, it is difficult to examine one’s failures. The process begins unpleasantly enough, with the admission that success has not been achieved. The thing that was intended has been left undone. The fault lies close to home.
Delving deeper, patterns of failure and contributing behavior emerge. The temptation is to despair and give up. However, lack of success is not the same as utter defeat. Failure often leads to more insight than success.
An insight from my own failure: frequency is a powerful tool that I underutilize. In Manage Your Day-to-Day, Gretchen Wilson lists seven benefits of frequency. Two in particular stand out:
- Frequency keeps ideas fresh.
- Frequency keeps the pressure off.
The idea of frequency is this: do a small amount of work in short intervals instead of large amounts of work in long intervals. My modus operandi, unfortunately, is the latter. As a result, I forget where I left off and rework the same parts of a project. My ideas have grown stale. When a deadline comes, much work is left to be done in a condensed period of time. The pressure is high. Stress, and at times incompleteness, results.
Interestingly, frequency also provides the power to move forward. Success doesn’t have to be achieved in one, monumental effort. It can be reached one small, frequent step at a time.