Recently I have been dismayed by society’s; even some of the closest people I know, obsession with the failures of others. So I set out in the opposite direction to become interested in the successes of others even after my own failures. What I discovered was surprising. We have always stigmatized failure to the point that we wish to avoid it and hide it when we experience it. No one can succeed every time, so what do we do with failure when it occurs? Great people aren’t just those who succeed, but those smart enough to recognize that failure sows the seeds of future success. In life as in business, failure comes with the territory. Often it takes the form of a motivating moment that makes future success possible. “Failure” and “losing” are part of the experience of being alive and competitive, yet we seem to have a nagging fear of failure – and it often times prevents us from succeeding. I have encountered many people who would like to start their own businesses, but….they fear that no one will buy their product or service, they’re not very good at selling or they won’t make enough money to live on. Such uncertainties are a cue to take action: to step up and do the research or get the training needed to make their dreams come true.
As part of life’s processes, we should be encouraged to “fail fast”, but don’t just overlook failure; embrace it. When we embrace our failures, we have now made mistakes that we’re never likely to make again. “In some ways, if you’ve failed well, that’s a good thing”. ‘Failing well’ means that you made good decisions but maybe things or circumstances were beyond your control. You could go after a dream with a lot of potential and make great decisions and fail, and society would look at the failure and frown on you and the failure, which is totally flawed, because if you’re not failing, oftentimes it means you are not trying to succeed.
We must adopt more of this fail-and-learn philosophy
Do you have what it takes to make peace with failure? The secret to success is to use failure as a tool that helps you to grow and improve. You need to know where you are coming from and what are those experiences that are adding to your success. We must appreciate those lessons on an ongoing basis so that they become part of your everyday behaviours. As one Fortune 500 executive said, ” failure and defeat are life’s greatest teachers.
Here are some ways of creating a learning from failure:
- Be open minded about your failures. Discuss your mistakes and what you have learned from them, and encourage others to do the same. In today’s world where everything is changing so fast, you have got to keep trying new things and there is no way you are going to hit it out of the park every time.
- Publicly celebrate both successes and failure in your life experiences.
- Explore every failure. Find out what happened so it doesn’t happen again.
- Fail smarter. Invite constructive criticism of your plans and ideas.
Courage to confront failure doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow…I will try again tomorrow’…
As the President of a company once told his staff: “If you don’t make a mistake, you’re fired” The fundamental rule of failure is that the only way to avoid it, is to stop trying to succeed.
Fail fast, fail smart, win big my friends.