One of the many things I like most about being involved in the training side of our industry is the opportunity to meet people new to the industry who are on a mission. Whether it is a new owner or a person who has been challenged to make an impact in their organization, the drive and excitement is infectious.  

I recently met an owner/operator of a new restoration company and afterward thought, “What if I could bottle that and share it – the mindset and the passion?” 

To clarify what I am referring to as “When Failure is Not an Option - A Mindset Powered by Passion,” it does not mean that you will not fail, make mistakes or suffer setbacks. It means you are focused on a mission and a vision. Even when you may be learning the hard way, by error, you remain intensely focused and driven toward the mission at hand. 

Eric Sprague shared his reflection of starting his Blue Collar Nation Podcast two and a half years ago with Larry Wilberton. “You have to be OK with being bad at something before you can be good at it…We had no clue what we were doing. We had one borrowed microphone, and the only guests we could get were friends and former employees of our restoration company. Now, two and a half years later, we have a top-rated podcast, better equipment and an amazing roster of past expert guests; all because we decided to start even though we were not good yet. So, if you have a dream, go after it. Be bad. Take your lumps. Learn. You will be all the better for it.” Eric and Larry had a dream and intense passion for delivering resources, stories and skill development to their industry.

After 22 years in the industry, my husband and business partner, Ted, and I enjoy sharing successes, lessons learned from failures and anything else with our mission-driven friends. During one conversation, when Ted was reconstructing the start of our restoration company, he summarized his thoughts with a chuckle, “Failure was not an option.” 

Over the years, there have been many moments that I feel the intensity of failure is not an option or have been reminded of it by those I am surrounded by. It is a mindset that can help you overcome challenges, stay grateful and respectful for every opportunity to serve, and give you the courage to expand or try something new.  

When we started out, we had no money and no resources. What we did have was a fire in our belly, passion, drive, kids to support and quite simply, “Failure was not an option.”

Meeting new leaders on a mission is an invigorating experience. There is passion combined with a specific set of traits. Maintaining this combination of passion and traits throughout our careers, or drinking it from a bottle as needed, could be a game changer. It could also bring us and those around us success, however you define it, and joy.  

Consider passion as a driver that is powering the mindset. Passion can be defined as a strong, powerful or uncontrollable emotion. This may not sound very business-like or of strategic value. I once heard a subject matter expert state that it is not a good quality in business – that it implies chaos and lack of discipline. I actually was worried about our tagline (ha-ha): “Knowledge, Passion & Inspiration for your Success”. 

Although it is an emotion and can be described, at times, as uncontrollable, in this article by Forbes, “The Importance Of Passion As A Business Leader” many arguments for the power of passion are presented including, “Passion enables you to keep pursuing success in the face of adversity longer than anyone else.” As my dad always says, “Don’t let your strength become your weakness.” If we can harness our passion and balance, along with deliberate action, it can power us to do great things. Passion will also help lead, engage and get buy-in from those around you including those you serve. Passion is a genuine emotion that not only powers you as an individual but also allows you to connect with others.

If passion is the driver, what else can be said about the “when failure is not an option” mindset? The following are a few common traits that seem to operate at peak performance and are fueled by passion in those with this mindset. This short list can be used to reflect, develop and/or self-assess:  

  • Resourcefulness: There is a strong desire to learn and gather resources, along with a curiosity that drives information seeking. The Curious Restorer expands on this notion and how it helps us grow professionally.  
  • Drive for results: There is an unwavering focus on action and getting things done that leads to positive results.  
  • Confidence and humility: The presence of confidence without the barriers brought about by arrogance gives us the ability to absorb and focus on new information and opportunities. This is a highly attractive quality in leaders.   

If you have lost touch with your passion, feel defeated, or frustrated, I will share with you some thoughts to help reconnect with the mindset. If you are currently in the “when failure is not an option” mindset, embrace it, run with it, bottle it and share it with others.  

  • The vision and mission: Have a clear and positive vision. The law of attraction and visualization of positive outcomes are some of the key takeaways in a top-selling book, The Secret. Balance the passion for the vision with doing. “As Gary Vee says, ‘The law of attraction only works if you do.’ So, think positive thoughts, prep for success, pay attention and then work like a madman to get what you want.”
  • Surround yourself with successful and positive people: In Who Are You Hanging With, the story of a failing and frustrated restorer who realized he was hanging with the wrong people tells the lesson of success creating more success. Successful people help other people succeed. 
  • Engage: Read periodicals, get to industry events, take classes, and utilize opportunities to collaborate and network in the industry.  
  • Mentor: A win-win could be the pairing of a seasoned industry pro that may be facing a bit of burnout with a passionate new leader. Both have much to gain and learn.  
  • Consultants and coaches: If you lost your passion, find a coach that can help you re-spark your flame and find deliberate approaches to move forward.  
  • Reflect: If you have lost your passion, reconnect with it. Tell others about your first job, how you got started in the industry, share the stories of some of the mistakes you made. 

May When Failure is Not an Option – A Mindset, Powered by Passion bring you much restoring success.