Failure is an Option

Several years ago, I purchased a coffee mug at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, that is emblazoned with the phrase, “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.”

As I was enjoying a cup of coffee one morning, I thought about how many times we’ve heard around our offices this same message that emanated from the NASA engineers in charge of the Apollo 13 space mission.

It is a phrase we repeat to each other when the going gets tough or when we need to summon our inner hunger to succeed and to overcome long odds. However, when I really think about the phrase, a few equally important truths come to mind that I’d also like to see on a coffee mug:

Quitting is not an option.

Letting your team down is not an option.

Marginal effort is not an option.

Being unprepared is not an option.

Aiming for a lower goal is not an option.

We all know the truth. Failure is an option. It’s one we may never choose, but it remains an option we must guard against every day.

Failure has happened on our journey and I expect it will happen again. Because achieving a goal often depends on opportunity + timing + effort + the work of others unifying at a precise place in time, there will always be circumstances and components of this equation that you simply can’t control or that you fail to adequately appreciate.

We’ve learned that situations out of our current sphere of influence often can and will impede our ability to attain goals and our best efforts may not be enough to bend the will of the universe.

Today, when I consider the strengths of Fulcrum Construction Group  and Hix Snedeker Companies, I shy away from my NASA coffee cup mantra and share that what enables us to repeatedly provide the results our clients demand is not stating aloud that we will not fail, but rather, our commitment and dedication to our clients and to each other. We know that if/when we do fail, we will have done so while doing everything possible to not contribute to that failure.

We find, more often than not, that instilling these processes will, in fact, provide the highest probability to avoid future failures and will build a dependable and predictable method for achieving success for the long haul.

It would be tough to put all this onto a coffee mug, but it’s a worthwhile effort to reflect on what you can do and what you can control to best mitigate your most undesirable option.

– Ray Hix
CEO/Cofounder, Fulcrum Construction Group + Hix Snedeker Companies