"Forget the failures. Keep the lessons." - Dalai Lama
Take a moment to recall how you felt when you realized that you’d failed. That something you attempted to do didn’t work and had significant consequences, on others and yourself. At that moment, you find yourself standing at the intersection of risk and reward, where your success as a leader teeters on your ability as a leader to recover and move forward. That’s not an easy move to make for any of us. Our tendency might be to take the safer road to avoid the pain of ridicule, the humiliation of scrutiny, or the perception of our incompetence.
And yet we know, at least intellectually, that without some failure in life, we won’t grow, and world-changing creations like electricity, medical advances and flight would never have happened, right? Insulating yourself from failure stifles your growth as a leader and cripples your ability to navigate and course correct when (not if) the environment creates turbulence for your organization.
Taking risks and being willing to fail begins with our mindset. While some people seem to be wired this way, the willingness to take risks is a skill you can develop, whether you are an entrepreneur, executive or rising star. Here are a few suggestions:
Embracing failure requires courage and intention, but mastery of it develops resilience. As leaders, we run the risk of missing opportunities for greatness and innovation by dumbing down our work to what’s safe and comfortable. Be determined to fail forward.
Have a story about a failure that paved the road to your success? I’d love to read it. Send me a note.
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