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“Failure Is Not Final” by Rico Horca

by | In the Magazine, Rico Horca

We met at what was once the favorite meeting place of the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley, the iconic Late for the Train restaurant in Menlo Park, California.

I just completed an undergraduate engineering degree and not having landed a “real” job, was moonlighting as a freelance writer.

In stark contrast, he was fresh from the recent $30 million IPO of his third start-up (S3, Inc.) and the $300 million sales of his second start-up (Chips & Technologies) to tech giant Intel. I was excited and intimidated to be interviewing serial entrepreneur, and fellow-Filipino, Dado Banatao.

It started out as your run-of-the-mill successful business person interview. I came prepared with softball questions: “What is the secret to your success? – or – Growing up, who did you look up to?”

He seemed frustrated with my questions and quickly dismissed them.

The interview instead became a time of teaching. I was an eager student.

Little did I know Dado would share a valuable business and life lesson that would impact me then and still resonate over 30 years later.

So much so, that I now regularly share it with my clients in my business coaching practice.

What was that lesson, you ask? Near the end of our time together that noteworthy day, Dado looked directly at me and said, “Rico, failure is not final.”

Our Failures Do Not Define Us

During the long drive home, I pondered Dado’s words of wisdom Failure is not final. Over the years, I’ve boiled it down in relation to a few fundamental truths.

First, we all fail – no one is perfect. Second, there’s a profound difference between failing and being a failure – our failures do not define us.

Finally, perhaps most importantly, it matters less that we failed. What matters more is how we respond.

“Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”

John Maxwell

As business coaches, we have an awesome responsibility and privilege to guide our clients through and around their business mistakes and failures. We can help them see and experience firsthand that failure is not final.

Over the years as a business coach, I’ve culled it down to three necessary changes:

A Change of Heart, A Change of Mind, and A Change of Direction.

A Change of Heart

We often find it difficult to take responsibility when things go awry. As long as we hold on to our defiant attitudes, we can never really move forward. 

A change of heart means to admit when we are wrong or have made mistakes. However, it’s not about laying blame or even finding fault.

It even goes beyond just admitting fault. It means taking responsibility.

If you were to break down the word “responsibility” into its root component words, you get – the ability to respond. A change of heart enables us to respond.

Only then can we can actually move forward.

Deeper still, what I mean by “a change of heart” is more than just the surface idiomatic expression. It is not just a change of opinion or attitude.

It is, in fact, a change of our beliefs. Our beliefs dictate our actions and our behavior.

Often, when we fail, we surrender to false beliefs about what is possible.

Our role as coaches often requires us to help our clients temporarily suspend the need to believe so we can guide them in successfully achieving what others think is impossible.

A Change of Mind

Norman Vincent Peale says, “Change your thoughts, and you change your world.” As coaches, the concept of framing is one that we should learn and master in order to better serve our clients.

How one frames a certain situation, especially failure is important. If a problem can’t be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution often lies in reframing the problem. Reframing is basically changing how you think – a change of mind.

A large part of reframing lies within our communication style. As coaches, we should realize that it’s not only what we say but how we say it.

We need to be able to clearly communicate expectations, goals, and standards. Our words not only inform and instruct.

They also influence. Choosing the right words can help us provide valuable feedback and insight. Our clients can grow and be positively challenged by our encouragement.

A Change of Direction

There’s an old adage that says that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” In other words, if you are heading in the wrong direction, the wisest thing to do is to stop and figure out the right one.

This takes time. As coaches, we must teach our clients that positive results will not come overnight, and at the same time, help points them in the right direction.

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”

Jim Rohn

Rohn went further to say that the direction you go is not dictated by the direction the winds blow, but rather on the set of your sail.

Closing Thoughts

Last July, my wife, kids and I enjoyed an amazing family vacation in Florida. One of my favorite stops was at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

We were there on the same week of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11’s successful lunar landing mission.

In the Apollo/Saturn V Center, one of the docents shared an interesting insight.

He said that getting to the moon wasn’t as simple as pointing the rocket at the moon. There were, in fact, hundreds of course corrections along the way.

The success of our coaching clients isn’t as simple as pointing them in the right direction.

Their success also lies in our abilities to help them navigate necessary course corrections along the way – to help them learn that failure is not final if they are able to have a change of heart, a change of mind and a change of direction.

Business Coach Rico Horca

Failure Is Not Final by Rico Horca
Rico Horca

 About Rico Horca

Rico Horca is the founder and principal executive of Rico Horca & Associates, A business management consulting and executive coaching company. He specializes in sales and marketing for small business owners. Over the years, he has developed a keen understanding of the complex issues facing small business owners in the type of volatile economy we have today.

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