Failure and its effects aren’t talked about enough. We rarely even use the word, let alone discuss what it might signify or how it might affect our leadership. And as much as investors exalt failure, in reality, people still shrink from it. We rarely hear leaders or entrepreneurs talk honestly about major mistakes or ventures that bit the dust.
We get mixed messages: at school, progress largely depends on doing things correctly the first time. In entry-level jobs, it’s largely the same. The word failure is applied too liberally to what I would call normal career ups and downs. Failing at a few things is important — you learn from it and test your limits. Experimentation, discovery and elimination are essential to the process of innovation.
In today’s uncertain climate, leadership means learning to be adaptable and resourceful. But this may mean moving outside of your comfort zone – taking risks, making mistakes.
Addressing it means focusing on three areas:
1. Limiting beliefs, such as ‘I cannot fail’. What are these?
2. Your conditions of satisfaction. Are they appropriate and realistic? What is good enough? Not everything can have your all, so where can you make concessions without considering yourself a loser?
3. What does balance look like to you? There are things you may be giving up or failing at inadvertently. What would be more practical, without being in any way substandard?
Fear of failure often links to people not being clear about their corporate vision and their personal vision, and how/if those intersect harmoniously. You must be able to get your self-esteem from something other than work and you must allow yourself to accept failure in order to achieve brilliance.