Finding success through failure

Adam Kreek tells us why "failure" is a misnomer

The following is an excerpt from his lecture at the Leadership Starts Here Conference held on Waterloo’s campus.

"I seek failure. The only and fastest way that we grow is if we grow along the edge of our comfort zone. But the only way we know the true edge of our comfort zone is if we part from failure once in a while ... . It’s risky to find that failure but you figure out what motivates you and you figure out your true limit ...

"It’s the strength to continue that counts. The concept of reflecting, learning, growing, and letting go ... so it’s not baggage anymore — it’s something that makes you stronger.

"It doesn’t matter that I was abused as a kid. It doesn’t matter that I failed that test. It doesn’t matter that the relationship failed. I learned from it and now I’m better. It’s a part of me and it’s who I am...

"I had a new goal after going to the Olympics. I met this guy down in San Francisco who rowed across the ocean ... and that sounded like something I wanted to do.

"It was adventurous. People say “Why would you want to do that?” My answer is, “It is natural.” This part of your brain lights up when you think of doing something new and it can inspire us to do great things. We want to try something new because we think that there will be something beautiful we can discover in the process ...

"Recognize that it takes a bunch of small goals, small steps, and small actions to the bigger goal ... The hardest part of rowing across the ocean wasn’t rowing across the ocean itself, but raising half a million dollars and building an organization that could support it. It wasn’t easy. I quit a couple of times ... The thing that kept me going as we built towards this final goal was 'look how far we’ve come.'”

“You know what? We failed. Is there an opportunity in this? We just need to figure out what it is.”

"That was also very important when I was actually rowing across the ocean. We hit this wave the size of the room and it peaked over and crashed on the top of our boat ... When we sat in the life-raft before we got rescued, we said “You know what? We failed. Is there an opportunity in this? We just need to figure out what it is.” It turns out that when four guys are in the middle of the ocean, almost dying but being rescued makes really good news. And so I think it’s important through failure we win.

"I think the final key I want you to take from this is: No one ever sat on the start line of the Olympics believing that they weren’t going to win, and then won the Olympics ... It’s important to recognize that you are worthy. If you have put in the work, if you have focused on what you can control and done everything in your power to get to where you are, you are worthy. You can give it your all and what happens is just going to happen. You are going to keep moving on and keep progressing."

Watch his full talk and visit his website, Kreek Speak