Our failures can be our greatest teachers--if only we would let them.
Author: LOLLY DASKAL, President and CEO, Lead From Within, @LollyDaskal
Before coaching the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories and five NFC championships, Tom Landry had one of the worst first seasons on record (winning no games) and won five or fewer games over the next four seasons.
Before Microsoft, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and tanked his first business (with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen), Traf-O-Data.
Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was 4 and did not read until he was 7, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped. He was expelled from school and refused admittance to Zurich Polytechnic.
The truth is that anyone who has achieved anything great has at some point made a choice to embrace failure instead of allowing it to hold him or her back.
Failure paves our way to success and gives us permission to excel.
The key is how we respond to failure. Some of the benefits:
1. Failure is a reason to investigate
Look for what went wrong, rather than who’s to blame. Investigation helps us determine whether there was a lack of information or training at the root, so we know what to shore up.
2. Failure is a reason to learn
If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and times when you fail, and both are equally important.
3. Failure is a reason to overcome fear
Everything you want is on the other side of fear. We all experience disappointment, defeat, and despair; these are the tools to show us a new way. Take the time to evaluate and analyze what you have learned, and consider how you can attain new results.
4. Failure is a reason to be accountable
Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be. Failure holds us accountable by reminding us of the difference between making a mistake and making it again and again.
5. Failure is a reason to shift
Failure is delay, not defeat; a detour, not a dead end. Shift delay into determination, negative into positive, and negativity into optimism.
6. Failure is a reason to overcome adversity
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. You can build on failure. You can use it as a steppingstone.
7. Failure is a reason for innovation
When we give ourselves permission to fail, we give ourselves permission to excel and innovate. Failure means you are trying new things, learning new things, and pushing yourself in new directions.
We speak about success all the time, but it’s time to give failure its due as a catalyst for greatness and means for success.