Don’t run from failure, run towards it.
We all fail. Failure is an inevitable part of life. While failure may make you feel inferior, inadequate or just plain stupid, it doesn’t have to tear you down. With practice you can choose your perspective on failure. Each time failure has crushed you, consider what your life would’ve looked like if you had let those experiences build you up instead.
Time to shift!
I’ve hit a lot of home runs on creative projects throughout my career. However, many times I’ve failed and come up short. Each time I have to remain willing to see the good in the bad. If you internalize that you can and probably will fail, you can prepare for it and learn from it. In my last article, How to Facilitate a Productive Post Mortem, I shared my secrets for comprehensively and constructively looking at a project upon completion; considering the good, the bad, the genius, and the idiocy.
I am passionate about the therapy that lies in failure. We can all learn to shift our mentality around failing and use those previously soul crushing projects to our advantage.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.“
– Pee Wee Herman
The next time you fail and need to face it head on, think of these benefits:
Failure Fuels Creativity
When you’ve done something wrong, you’ve got to figure out a creative way to dig out of the hole. There is nothing more creative than working backwards. If you’re drilling into your Post Mortem and a small or large failure is staring back at you, go towards it. Open your mind to the potential of other solutions. Get creative and think differently.
Failure Forces Innovation
If something doesn’t work well, or totally flops, see it as an opportunity for innovation. You’ve proved a method that doesn’t work. Now you’ve got to craft a better model. There has to be a better way, a different approach, a more streamlined finish. You are in a perfect position to zoom out, collect intelligence, and restructure. Innovation happens organically when the right questions are asked. You have no choice but to innovate. This is the same as saying, “You can only go up from here!”
Failure Fires Up Passion
This one is all about perspective. You can choose to wallow when you fail, or you can choose to ignite. Spark that blaze of passion and determination to improve for next time. Fire up your team with optimism as you look objectively at what went wrong and why. Passion is fire and failure is fuel. Get your mind right and your team’s combustion engine will growl with ambition.
As you go through the process of a Post Mortem, be sure to keep focused on your WHY, the reason you’re doing it: growth. Growth through learning from failure is the single most important thing in business. Resilience and grit is what you cultivate when you fail and are determined to get it right the next time. You get business street cred and an abundance of experience to draw from and share with your team.
So, next time you fail, pause.
Breathe in, shift your perspective, breathe out, and charge ahead.
Leave your ego behind and embrace the uncomfortable lessons.
And finally, always remember:
Growth hurts. But only because we’re growing.
So go forth and fail…and grow.