When Was the Last Time You Failed?

Have you fallen down lately?

No, not on the floor.

I mean, have you failed at something?

Maybe something small.

Maybe big. (Perhaps, even huge!)

However, a more important question than what you failed at…

…is, what did you do after you failed?

Your Last Failure

Asking someone about their most recent failure can be a very telling question.

The person who says they have not failed is either deceptive or they are not taking any risks.

Really? You have never failed? At anything?

If so, I would argue that you are playing it way too safe.

Are you hiding indoors avoiding all of the dangers of the world?

Calculated Failure

Do you want to see people who fail often? Watch kids at play.

Kids are the best example of learning by falling down. (Quite literally.)

They do things that we may consider crazy… like jumping that skateboard over that bench.

Yet, they are learning.

You think, that’s not going to work… and then it does. Woah.

“If you haven’t failed at anything lately, then you aren’t trying.

You are playing it too safe.”

Ironically, most workplaces value safe. They put emphasis on the status quo. (Until they are eventually obsolete.)

If you or your business is sitting still, then you aren’t doing anything new, exciting, or quite frankly… of value.

So let’s get dangerous! And take some risks…

What is the worst that could happen?

We could fail, I guess.

After the Fail

Most successful people have failed many, many times in their career. (From Steve Jobs to Michael Jordan… even the best fail.)

“It’s what you do after you fail that is most important.”

There  is nothing wrong with failing. It is only a true failure if you do not learn from it or leverage it for future success.

“Even a failure can be a stepping stone to raise yourself to a higher level the next time.”

What do you do after you fail?

  • Deny It – Are you too ashamed to admit your failures? For some it is pathological, I have observed some leaders who are in such denial that they re-write their own reality. They even lie to themselves about facts and details.
  • Ignore it – Some choose to ignore their mistakes and failures. They think that if they just don’t recognize it, that it never happened or no one will know about it.
  • Get Back Up – Like the kid on the playground, do you get back up, brush yourself off, and get right back in the game? Failing can be a good thing as long as you always get back up. Try again. And then again.
  • Get Mad – Getting mad about your failure can be bad if you let your rage overtake you. However, some use this anger as determination to drive themselves in their next performance. As long as it is used in a positive manner, it can be powerful motivational force.
  • Learn From It – Of course, if you don’t learn anything from your failure, then you are bound to repeat it. Reflect and determine what you can do better next time. Could you plan better? Learn a new skill? Practice? What new understanding do you have after falling down?

Fail and Learn

What do you need to fail at?

Maybe you need to attempt something new and risky.

It is not about irrational actions, but calculated risks.

So, take a chance today.

Just make sure you get back up…when you are done.

What have you failed at recently? What did you do afterwards?

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