Blog – 9-28-16
Have you ever experienced what felt like an epic fail in your life? I’m sure most of you reading this would say yes because none of us is immune from messing up. We’ve all had those moments when we haven’t gotten the results we hoped for. It can be painful to fail, and pain can stop us dead in our tracks.
Failing is not fun, is it.
I want to challenge you, however, to make failure your friend. There’s so much to be learned from failing, and our failures can actually become stepping stones to success. That may sound crazy, but let me explain.
Think about all the life lessons kids have to learn through failure. You can tell them all day long not to touch a hot stove, but when do they learn not to touch it…when they do! When they feel pain.
Think about the mistakes you’ve made at work. I bet you learned a whole bunch from them and made every effort to not make the same mistake twice.
Bottom line, pain is a great motivator for change.
I’m learning something very important: if I’m NOT failing I’m NOT growing!
When we try new things, when we step out in faith, when we reach for a dream, we aren’t going to get things right all the time. We will make mistakes, and that’s okay. We shouldn’t expect to get things right the first time. Failure usually signals growth because it means we are stepping out of our comfort zone, we are reaching for a new goal, we are trying things we’ve never attempted before.
The biggest question is what we do with that failure.
I encourage you to choose to fail forward!
Fail forward and learn from the experience. Evaluate what went wrong, and do it differently next time. Don’t wallow in the failure, learn from it!
The reality is successful leaders are learners, people who are willing to learn and grow from their mistakes. They don’t let failure stop them but instead let it fuel them to try new things. I love this quote from President Theodore Roosevelt where he used a boxing analogy to state that the real credit goes to the man who gets in the arena, not whether he wins or loses. He said, “If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
I’ve been on the road and extremely busy the last few weeks. My schedule has been crazy, I’ve been going without enough sleep, trying new things, and I’ve had lots of what I’m choosing to call learning opportunities. In the past I would have called them failures, but I’m changing how I think about it. To be honest, I’ve learned an incredible amount of extremely useful things that I will be putting in place in my business moving forward, one of them being to schedule my time better. Allow more time for rest, as I talked about last week. Pay more attention to some of the smaller details that I tend to overlook. Ask better questions. I know I wouldn’t have learned any of these insights without experiencing less-than-perfect results.
I challenge you, my friend, the next time you are facing failure, choose to fail forward. Evaluate your experience and learn from it. Then do it better next time!
Choose today to fail forward!
Hugs and love,