by Cheryl Marks Young
When was the last time you read a case study about abject failure? When you scroll through the leadership blogs and business publications, how many “lack of success” stories do you skim? It’s true, we relish stories of underdogs, but we don’t get caught up in the unsuccessful parts of those stories for very long. We’re eager to read about the win. Whether it’s our own tale or someone else’s, we want to tune in and focus on the sizzle reel of high points. Yet the value of that tale may not lie in the finish line. There is value in the stumbles and the missteps. Why?
Failure is inevitable, and that’s good, because failure is valuable.
Yes. You read that right. Let’s talk about those case studies again. The elements of these tales that will benefit you most are the parts that cover adversity and the problem-solving that took place to push through those challenges. Simply reading, “She had an idea. She succeeded” is a nice pat on the back. The value lies in, “She had an idea. She tried Plan A to bring it to fruition. It didn’t work. She adapted and tried this. She tweaked it again and tried that. She was successful.” This is the story we need to read.
You Will Fail
Let’s get this one out of the way right up front. If you are dreaming, stretching, and working to achieve your goals, you will fail at some point along the way. There will be setbacks. You’ll need to readjust your plans. You may need to hit pause on progress while you take some time to learn a skill you didn’t know you’d need. If you’re stretching and challenging yourself, it won’t always be smooth sailing as you reach for your goals. That’s good. It means you’re growing. Embrace those challenges, learn from them, and leap forward.
You Will Learn
You’ve heard it before, right? Learn from your mistakes. It’s not a trite adage designed to make us feel better about fumbling the ball. It’s wisdom that is passed on from person to person for good reason. If we’re willing to evaluate what went wrong, we can learn from it. We can identify gaps in skills and resources and make a plan to address those before we press ahead again. We may learn that this particular path isn’t the right one for us at this time. If we are a student…