Failure is the number one reason that we are able to find success and grow. Without failure we would never learn from the mistakes we have made and the ideas for better products, faster services and stronger quality control wouldn’t exist. Failure, simply put, propels success.
Failure can be broken down into several capacities. There is epic failure in which your mistake is so large that you lose your job or the largest account to the company. Perhaps your failure is so big that it simply can not be recovered from and the only way to move forward is to learn from the mistake and move on. There are also several instances of failure in our daily lives whether we fail to get to a meeting on time or hit an internal deadline, failure is all around us. Small failures cause us to re think our approach and drive a better route to work to ensure we hit the meeting on time and to spend our time wiser to make those internal deadlines.
Whether the failure is large or small the most important aspect is how we learn from it. Our recovery from failure is not how we cover up for failing its how we learn to never put ourselves in that situation again.
When I watch someone on my staff fail, my first reaction may be one of frustration but I always try to put it into perspective. I ask the following questions to myself, “can they learn from this,” “how often has this happened,” and “will they ever do this again?”
In a recent instance I watched a moment of failure on my own staff. It was one that inevitably cost us a financial loss by someone who rarely makes a mistake. Although my first reaction was one of frustration due to the amount of people it effected, my belief was that this incident of failure would put any halt to future failures of this nature. My belief is that we will inevitably fail at some point, the key is to move forward and never put ourselves in that situation again.
Two years ago I had an epic failure. I was working on a project that had been left to me after the departure of a staff member. Over the course of handling my current duties I needed to allocate significant time to this particular project and unfortunately I neglected the hours needed and the attention, thus causing a six figure plus failure that got the attention of my boss and my boss’s boss. Not the kind of attention I was seeking.
That being said I learned from it. By dealing with my epic failure I now know to never put myself in that situation again and to handle it in a different way. I have since put procedures in place should we end up in this position as a company and I am confident I won’t cause this failure ever again.
The humility that followed my epic failure was tough as well. My peers in the organization knew about my mistake and while in my head it was much worse than it may have been, this caused me to learn even quicker.
Failure is important because without it we will never grow. Take note of your daily failures and epic failures and make sure that you have a growth plan associate with them. What did you learn? How did you change?