How To Embrace Failure

When you are molding a new future, the shape of it may not be perfect.

You may not have all the information you need. You may not have all the support you need. And the uncomfortable part of it is, you may have serious doubts about whether you are capable.

"What if I fail?" becomes the mantra for many, and rather than take action, you decide to lower your expectations, or change direction to a safer path.

As I developed my career, I was often told, "you're not playing big enough." I knew it, and I also knew that fear was stopping me from playing full out. "What if I'm not good enough," was at the root of playing small.

Inherent in this core belief was a fear of failure. I had been indoctrinated growing up to believe that if you are going to something, do it right, or don't do it at all. It has made me an overachiever in everything I do, and it has had a positive, and negative impact on how far I've stretched myself.

I wrote a book called The Fearless Factor and speak often on the subject of fear in the workplace, and when I ask my audiences what is their greatest fear, the most frequent answer is, "fear of failure!" We earnestly want to do our best, to make a difference, but the internal voice says,'what if I get it wrong'. This kind of thinking veers toward "I'll be blamed, judged to be incompetent, and maybe even cost my company serious dollars because I messed up," and frequently it stops us in our tracks, unable to contribute in a meaningful way, or create and innovate.

Learning how to be comfortable with failure is an art form. Simply put, WE ARE ALL Failing Our Way To Success .

If you don't embrace failure you will never find the courage and confidence to take on a new role, or create a new product, or leave a job that doesn't work for you, or stretch beyond your recognized comfort zone to be more than you ever thought possible.

Failure is a state of mind, and it has nothing to do with not being good enough. Embracing failure simply means you made a choice that didn't work out. When that happens there is only one word to use. NEXT!

Consider the following:

  • Failure = seeing that you are off course
  • Failure = realizing you need to learn more
  • Failure = product testing
  • Failure = finding out you need help
  • Failure = exploring
  • Failure = discovering that you’ve been misinformed
  • Failure = experimenting
  • Failure = seeing how you need to work harder
  • Failure = learning that it’s not your best idea
  • Failure = market research
  • Failure = prototyping
  • The greatest failure of all is simple: The failure to try!