According to the dictionary to fail is to be unsuccessful in achieving one's goal. It implies a weakness, shortcoming, and lack of success.
Failure can be a painful experience, leading to embarrassment and shame. But what if we could reframe this type of experience by looking at the bigger picture. Is it possible that failing is simply a footstep on the path to greatness?
Let’s explore this topic and see why many leaders deem failure necessary!
The Growth of Failure
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
Think about one of your greatest achievements. Did you accomplish it easily without any challenges? Probably not! The fact of the matter is that we learn because we mess up.
Making a mistake gives us valuable information. When we embrace our mistakes, we can take what we’ve learned and apply it to achieving our goals.
The Limits of Playing it Safe
"Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough" - Elon Musk
Understanding the importance of failing, it frees us up to risk, try, fail, and learn more. If you never fail your goals may be too small. This might keep us from failure, but it will also limit our growth. Achieving greatness inherently comes with risk of failure.
If we can embrace our mistakes as a part of learning, we will not need to play it safe. We will be free to try innovative ideas which have the potential for huge success. No one is good at something the first time they try, but there are benefits in taking a risk!
“We are all failures - at least the best of us are.” - J.M. Barrie
Stanford professor, psychologist, and author Carol Dweck writes extensively about having a growth mindset in her book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success". A growth mindset recognizes that your intelligence and abilities are not fixed - that you are able to learn and grow.
It is a growth mindset that will enable us to "fail forward." We fail forward when we keep persevering in spite of failure, knowing that failing is a part of the learning process. Embracing this truth really frees you up to be (and accomplish) all you can be!
Keep in mind that many of those considered the most successful were often considered failures at one point. Did you know that Howard Schultz was rejected for a loan 242 times before he secured the funds to start Starbucks?
How do you need to embrace failure in your life? What would you try if you knew you wouldn't fail? Could you give yourself permission to try, knowing that sometimes failing is part of the process? And that is why I want you to fail!