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With The Right Attitude Failure Expands Your Life

Updated: Dec 18, 2021

Failure is one of the best teachers around. Consider it the entrance fee to a bigger and more interesting life

Of the many things I wish I had learned younger and better is how to use failure as a teacher, instead of considering it a personal weakness. Let's face it, from the moment we enter school, and sometimes before, the last thing we want to do is “fail”.

Fear, embarrassment, and intolerance of failure drives our learning underground and hinders innovation. No more. Failure is strength. The most effective and innovative organizations (people) are those that are willing to speak openly about their failures because the only truly “bad” failure is one that’s repeated. Ashley Good, CEO Fail Forward

Regardless of the area, from relationships, to business ventures, failure, even the idea of it, is cringe worthy. It can keep us from trying and it can keep us from stopping, even when we know we should.

Before the pinnacles of success were the thousand tries before

Our cultural mindset is one of stark contrasts – win/lose, success/failure, strong/weak, healthy/sick. There are no gray areas – you are one or the other and there are clear messages about what side to be on.

We have many stories of success but what we get is the result. What is missing is what happened before the big contract, the gold cup or the breakthrough innovation. We see and hear about the pinnacles and not the thousand tries that didn't make it and required starting again.

The more important something is, the more attachment to your self-worth, the greater likelihood you'll feel resistance to admitting failure.

With that resistance, is the potential to miss re-framing it for the chance to learn something new about yourself, the organization or someone else. And sometimes....all three.

What is failure anyway?

Is it an attempt or effort that didn't have the wished for outcome?

That's it, isn't it?

It seems to me that if we don't admit our failures, then any efforts are half of what they could be.

Big innovations need the willingness to “be all in” as a friend is fond of saying. Giving it your all and willing to stand by the outcome, whatever or wherever that takes you.