When babies begin the “risky” process of walking instead of crawling, we celebrate each step, fall or fail because we know they need to learn to fall before they learn how to walk.
When we reach for new ideas, try new things and imagine new ideas, we often experience a failure or two before we find success. Some failures are small and can go almost unnoticed while others can be life changing. Each failure is important because there is a lesson in each and every one of them. We need to capture, share and learn from these lessons while we celebrate failures the same as we celebrate successes.
Failures are badges of honor; symbols of courage and bravery. You cannot fail if you don’t at least try something new or different or hard and take the plunge to overcome your fears. So, do we get these badges for trying or for failing? Trying is the first step on the road to success or failure, so you get a high five for the try, but the badge is for the guts and perseverance it takes to fail.
Social media helps us wear a “mask” of brilliance and happiness, but rarely shows the hard times, the tears, the misses etc. It helps us celebrate all of our successes no matter how small but never even mentions the fails that were on that road. Most of us are embarrassed by our failures and are convinced we are the only ones who did ‘such a stupid thing’. We keep these failures to ourselves and almost never take them out to see what good we might do with these lessons.
We learn by putting failures “on the table”, unpacking them and exploring the what, why, how and when of the failure. I’m not suggesting you wallow in your failure, but instead confront and learn from these valuable lessons so you can share your experience with others. These are lessons we have Earned!!!
I have earned lots of lessons from failures. I started a software company that failed, in simple terms, because the market and our product were not in sync. We did not listen to the data we collected, we were in love with our “baby”, so we just charged full speed ahead into a brick wall of failure. It was certainly painful for everyone involved, but we moved on to other successes with those powerful lessons we Earned in our pockets.
Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. When we think a failure has gotten in our way of success, we often blame it on “bad luck” and can become bitter or think life is unfair. While life is indeed unfair sometimes, more often than not our failures make us even stronger.
When I ask people if they think celebrating failure is a good idea, the answer is almost always, “as long as that person has been successful and is not in the process of raising money or looking for a job.” I think our failures, if confronted and celebrated, make us so much better in all that we do.
Albert Einstein said, “Failure is success in progress.” Let’s not get bogged down by our failures. Lets celebrate failures as building blocks to our future and focus on the fact that they are really the beginning of success to help us achieve our dreams.