One afternoon, first-grader Hannah came home from school after a long day of testing.
“Well, Hannah,” her mom, Joni, asked, “how did the tests go?”
It was Hannah’s first experience with standardized testing, and her response was tentative.
“Well … uh, I think I got an F in sex.”
An F in sex? Joni asked herself. What in the world is she talking about … and what in the world was on that test?
So Joni asked her daughter a few more questions. It turns out that after Hannah wrote her name at the top of the test booklet, her teacher had come by and marked an F under her name next to the word sex.
“Honey,” Joni said, “the F stands for female—not fail! They just wanted to know whether you’re a girl or a boy. You’re a girl, so your sex is female.”
Hannah heaved a sigh of relief, and they both laughed.
Even though Hannah didn’t fail her test, failure happens to all of us at some point, doesn’t it?
You might be dealing with failure right now. It could be that you’ve hit a dead-end and it feels like you’re at the end. Maybe you just can’t fathom how you’ll ever find success again.
If that’s you, you’re going to love today’s 4:13 Podcast conversation with author and podcaster, Pat Flynn. You see, even though Pat is successful now, he knows what it’s like to fail.
Several years ago, Pat was fired from his dream job as an architect. But, instead of giving up, this unexpected failure became the beginning of a whole new path of success for him. He poured his time and energy into using his knowledge and skillset to help others. Sister, you’re going to be inspired by what happened next!
Today, Pat is a father, husband, and entrepreneur who lives and works in San Diego, California. He owns several successful online businesses and is a professional blogger, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal best-selling author, and host of the Smart Passive Income and Ask Pat 2.0 podcasts, which have over 55 million downloads.
So pull up a chair! This episode is warm, wise, and practical. Whether you’re in business or ministry, you’re going to learn how failure can be a stepping stone to success and discover the power of authentically connecting and caring for others.
3 Ways to Find Success After Failure
- Serve first. Pat’s business mantra is “serve first.” After he was fired from his job, he started to use what he’d learned and the knowledge he had—specifically related to a difficult exam—to help others. He created a website and spent 16 hours a day publishing content and sharing tips and tricks for the exam. Pat also devoted time on different architecture forums answering every question he could about the exam. Within a month and a half, he noticed people referring others to him. He became known as “the guy to ask.” A few months later he published an e-book study guide for the exam.
He shares how people would come to his website, buy the guide, and have it automatically delivered to them via email. Each morning, he would wake up and, not only was there more money in his account, but he knew he had helped people overnight. He also started to receive both emails and handwritten notes of thanks.
Like Pat, you too can succeed by serving others. There is power in helping people. To be truly successful, you don’t have to build a huge company or innovate something amazing. You can simply use what you know to help people who are struggling with something.
- Be fully yourself. Pat shares a conversation he had with his elementary-aged son one day after school. “Daddy, my friend called me weird,” his son said through tears. “You are weird,” Pat replied. “You’re weird. I’m weird. Your sister is weird. Your mommy is weird—although, don’t tell her I said that. But we’re all weird, and that’s what makes us awesome. That’s what makes us unique. If you weren’t weird, you’d be just like everybody else and then you wouldn’t be special.”
Pat shares how being fully himself has helped him maximize his message and find success after failure. He says that one of the ways he’s “weird” online is by sharing his obsession with the film, Back to the Future. And, because he does, it helps his audience get to know him better. He says that often he’ll have followers snap a picture of something Back to the Future related, send it to him, and say, “Hey, Pat! This made me think of you!” So, even though he doesn’t personally know these people, they are getting to know him because he shares things like this about himself.
You can do the same. Put more of yourself and your personality into whatever you do. Be okay with who you are and embrace your “weird.”
- Be interested in others. Pat remembers how in high school, he didn’t grow beyond five feet tall until his senior year. He was the short kid who happened to have close friends who were tall and loved basketball. They invited him to play with them and he did, but he was always picked last and was never passed the ball. Pat says that even though he was on the court playing with them, he never felt a part of the team. He shares how the same thing can happen with those we serve—or those we connect with—whether it’s in business or ministry. Until we give them the opportunity to speak up and participate in what we’re doing, they don’t feel a part of the team.
One way to change this is to stop trying to be interesting and instead be interested in others. When Pat goes to conferences, he says he does this by asking his followers as many questions about themselves as he can. Things like, “Tell me about your show. What’s your blog about? What are you struggling with right now?” He says people are surprised by his genuine interest because it’s a rare trait, especially in the online world.
You can make others feel valued and part of your team or tribe by taking an active interest in them. Pat shares one practical way to do this. Take out your phone and scroll to the bottom of your text messages. There you’ll see the people you haven’t reached out to in a long time. Send them a quick message like, “I was thinking about you. How are you doing?”
When you do, though, make sure there’s no agenda other than a genuine interest in them. And then, consistently check in with them over time. When you hit a difficult season and need help, it’s easier to ask for help when you have been there and present and interested all along.
Friends, you too can find success after failure. Whatever you face, whatever your calling is in this life, you can do it! You can win this day. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
- Lessons I Learned in the Dark: Steps to Walking By Faith, Not By Sight
- Walking by Faith: Lessons I Learned in the Dark Bible Study
More from Pat Flynn
- Pat’s website
- Smart Passive Income Podcast
- Ask Pat 2.0 Podcast
- Power-Up Podcasting Course
- Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business
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From what Pat shared, what tip or word of advice did you find most helpful?