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January 14, 2011 / Justin Hamlin

Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan Pt. 3

This is part 3 of 3 in the Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan series.  If you have not read Part 1 or Part 2, now would be a great time to get caught up.

In parts 1 and 2, we use the basics of project management to identify and achieve our goals, but also what to do when faced with something we call life.  In the 3rd and final installment today, we will tackle what to do when you follow your plan, adjust it around the inconsistencies of life, yet still fail.

Why is failure is so important? Keep reading.


Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face.  – Mike Tyson

You just set out a goal, planned it out perfectly, even adjusted when life presented challenges, and now you come to the point of success and you didn’t meet your goal.  You failed.

Fucking scary, isn’t it?

For me, it used to be. For a lot of others, it is everything they are afraid of and why most people do not set out to do anything even remotely extraordinary.

  • You are going to miss a deadline.
  • You are going to get fired from a job.
  • You are going to get dumped.

Sorry to break it to you, failure is part of life.

The sooner you come to grips with that fact, the quicker you can change your mindset to make failure just another step on the path to success.

How you deal with the failure, how quickly you get back on that horse, will define your resolve, your personality, your determination.  It will also define how you approach goals (and life) in the future.  It defines you.

Reassess and Recommit

Let’s go back to our initial goal of running a 5k in under 27 minutes by March 1st. Lets fast forward to March.  You have adjusted your timeline to fit with your life, yet still be agressive to meeting your goal.  With your new goal goal date staring you in the face, you find yourself able to run a 5k, but even pushing yourself, your stamina is not yet allowing you to get under 29 minutes.  That is more than 2 minutes from your targeted time.

You cannot help but feel dejected.  You just failed.  Short and simple, you failed.

Here is where the change starts.  This point in time.  You just failed.  You can do one of a few things:

  • Start making excuses why you failed
  • Give up completely
  • Claim that your 29 minute 5k was the best you will ever do
  • Reassess your goals and push yourself harder

For me, failure pisses me off.

What better place than here, what better time than now.  Reassess your goals.  What  did you learn from your failure?

  • You learned that your goal is within reach
  • You learned you can run 5k
  • You learned how to push yourself
  • Timeline was either too agressive or your body wasnt ready for it

A goal of 27 minutes is well within reach.  You can see that. Look how far you have come. Your original goal was 27 minute 5k by March 21st (adjusted).  Now you have to shave off 2 minutes. In your re-assessment, look at the progress you made.  How long will it take you to push your time up 2 more minutes?  Another week? Another 2 weeks? Could you do it tomorrow?

The important thing to remember is to be agressive, you need to push yourself, push your limits.  You have learned that even if you fail, you succeed in learning what you are capable of.  A goal is within reach. Find that balance. Commit yourself to your new deadline.  Just because you failed once doesnt mean that the second round will be any easier, or you can afford to stop pushing yourself.  Learn from Steve Kamb else how failure breeds success.

Those of us that learn from our failures have not learned our limits, we have merely learned when we must push ourselves futher.

What have you learned from your failures?

For me, I have learned through my failures that anything worth having is worth working your ass off for.  In this world, nobody is going to hand you anything.  You want it, go get it. Put your head down, and work hard at it.

My turning point was when I found myself at age 20, dropping out of college, getting fired from a dead end retail job.  I had nothing. No income, no potential income and bills piling up.  I worked odd jobs for a while to stay afloat.  I finally realized that I loved playing with computers and I could make a living off of it.  Within 16 months I had completed a 12 month technical school, gotten my foot in the door at a technology consulting firm, and moved my way up from an office lackey to a Systems Engineer, working with clients, billing $150/hr and in a career position.

What have you failed at? What did you learn from those failures?  How did it change you?

Tell me in the comments below.


Leave a Comment
  1. Ryan Renfrew @LifestyleDesign / Jan 14 2011 6:21 pm

    Last year I a lot of goal, A lot of very acheivable goals, but I didnt acheive a lot of them, I think this was for a few reasons.

    1. there were too many
    2. I wasnt 100% committed
    3. they wer too specific and my focus changed.

    This year I only made goals that really resonated deep within me, I only made one goal from each of the 7 major aspects of my life. Any smaller goals that will help complete the bigger one will now be called objectives.


    • Justin Hamlin / Jan 15 2011 5:46 pm

      Glad to see you setting important goals and achievable goals. So important in that momentum is having goals that you CAN achieve. Not saying pick easy ones, but it is similar to the butterfly effect. A few small victories make it easier to believe and be confident in those larger goals.

      Looking forward to seeing how your goals turn out!

  2. Bryan / Jan 18 2011 4:11 am

    I’ve had a lot of failures and have learned so much from them that I can’t really think of just one on which to elaborate.

    If I had to just generalize on them, I guess it would be the ones where I typically set myself up for disappointment (unrealistic or unachievable goals).

    Something though that I have learned though throughout the years is to always expect and plan contingencies for the worst while striving for the best. That way it’s not so much of a shock and demotivator if the worst happens. You have a plan to deal with it, so it’s not as much of a worry.

    Another good writing J!

    • Justin Hamlin / Jan 18 2011 10:27 am

      To a point, yes, you need to plan for things to happen. But there also comes a time where you need to re-evaluate your goals and not always plan for the worst, but plan for bumps in the road, how you are going to attack them, and how you are going to learn from and adjust to those bumps.

      The important thing is to keep learning from everything you do, both successes and failures.

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