No one talks about it at parties.
It isn’t something you just bring up when you’re on a first date or when you’re sitting across from a potential job opportunity in an interview.
But every single person on planet earth has experienced it.
What am I talking about?
I know, I know, I know…the best stories usually start when things are awesome or when you have it all together or when you’ve just experienced something amazing. Yet so many of the best stories we can tell occur when we’ve royally messed up something really valuable or important. And some of the most impactful lessons we learn happen at the expense of the people or the projects we love the most.
So let’s talk about it. Here are 3 things you (and me) need to remember about failure…
1| Everybody does it.
It’s true. Whether it was a simple DIY project at home, an accidental ‘Reply All’ to the entire company, or forgetting to pick up something at the store on your commute home, failure is a normal part of life. In some degree we all do it every. single. day. That means you are not alone. And no one should feel alone. Because when you feel alone, you isolate yourself and your dream and your vision from the greatest resource you have as a leader: other people.
2| Admitting it is always better than covering it up.
I’m a control freak. I like to manage all the difficult crap that goes on around me in both my personal and professional life. So if I feel like I can conjure up a valid excuse or a legitimate alibi, I try to make it work. Sometimes, it works and the BIG failure or mistake comes across as not a big deal. BUT, that sometimes leads to either a) someone finding out down the road and there being a lack of trust in the future; or b) the covered up mistake becomes a bigger problem for someone else or another project. That means it affects a lot of other people. Instead, how about you just admit you made a mistake, own it, and work with your team to correct it moving forward. This creates trust and accountability that is crucial to healthy organizations.
3| It is a thing, not a person.
Sometimes I have the tendency to make my failure a part of who I am. I let it control my thoughts and my actions, which in turn creates negativity and turmoil for those closest to me. However, you are not defined by the mistakes you make; you are defined by what you do with the mistakes you make. The lessons you learn from the mistakes you made matter more than the fact that you made a mistake.
At the end of the day, failure is about accepting that you don’t have all the answers and that you will never have all the answers. And that’s ok. That is why we are all in this together. Here at Roam, we hope to give you the best medicine for failure: community.
Interested? Join us.