Celebrating ‘failure’ might seem like an oxymoron, two words that have no business being together but ironically, in business, need to sit comfortably together. Trust me sometimes failing is the best thing that can happen to you. Here’s how to hail that fail…
Everybody inevitably fails it’s unavoidable and if it hasn’t happened yet no doubt it will eventually. But fear not, you learn a lot more from failing then you ever would from success. There are lots of articles on how learning from failure is invaluable, how hugely successful icons of our times like Oprah or Walt Disney have at some point failed. So if you’ve recently failed at something – trust me you’re in good company. But how do we celebrate our personal catastrophe- the secret is in how we frame it in our own minds. Sarah Blakely (Spanx founder and CEO) says to reframe your definition of failure as not trying versus the outcome of an endeavour. Once you overcome your fear of failure and try anything you set your mind to- life opens up to you in a multitude of ways. The real failure becomes having not tried in the first place.
People who fail are generally the kind of business people and creative minds that are not easily intimidated- they like a challenge and they embrace risk. Without risk life is pretty dull and “safe”. No one ever won any awards for being safe, take a risk and you might fail but you might win big, so when you do fail give yourself a pat on the back and say “good on you” at least you tried!
However that’s easier said then done- when we do fail, we focus so much on the negative and can often forget to analyse why. Examining how or where you fell short unveils the “Hidden Gifts” of your experience- treasure them. You can cash in this wealth of knowledge to help you succeed the next time round.
The important thing is that there is a next time and you don’t lose your appetite for risk. This is where we discover resilience. A more resilient outlook is key to longterm success despite short term failings and other obstacles.
But what about this ‘celebrating’ failure part. Sure I can learn a lot from it but why on earth would I celebrate it? That’s asking a bit much isn’t it? Sometimes we want something so badly and to succeed so badly, to win so badly, that we never really ask is this actually right for me? It’s only after we fail and we look back in hindsight we realise that maybe that wasn’t actually the right path or the best path. Not only do you now have all the knowledge you needed to understand why you failed but you’ve gained a new optimism at the realisation maybe it wasn’t failure, maybe it was a lucky escape.
Ok so you understand where you went wrong and sure you’d like to celebrate missing out on a huge opportunity but the cynic in you prevails – how can you be sure that your business blunder was in fact a narrow escape and something worthy of career fiesta rather than career siesta?
Simple: listen to your gut. That same inner voice that got you to risk it for a biscuit in the first place should also be letting you know in the light of failure how you truly feel about your loss. If you breath a sigh of relief that you are no longer charged with the pressure to run the world – own it, celebrate it and use that energy to try again. You’ll know deep down if it was a blessing in disguise. If at first you don’t succeed, celebrate then try again.
Too Lazy to read? watch Sarah Blakely Founder and CEO of Spanx on how important it is to celebrate failure:
Still feeling down in the dumps about a recent failure? Check out this unfortunate marketing disaster of epic proportions and realise things could be ALOT worse: