Failing has really gotten a bad rap over the years. No one wants to be labeled a “failure.” I doubt many of us had “F” report cards hanging on our refrigerators growing up. That space was reserved for A’s and B’s. There is a lot of negativity associated with failing, and we seem to have been conditioned to avoid it at all costs. However, when handled right, it is one of the most powerful tools we have to learn and grow. Here are three ways to take advantage of the power of failure.
Make time to fail
Whenever possible, build in time to fail. This usually works best in the early stages of a project when we have more freedom to explore new ideas without the intense pressure of a looming deadline. A rapidly-approaching client presentation is enough to scare us away from trying new things. If we plan to fail early in the process, we should have enough time to build off the failures towards better, more successful solutions.
Be proud of your failures
If you’re putting in the effort, failure should be worn as a badge of honor.
- It’s a sign of bravery
- It means you’re trying
- It’s a reflection of a pioneering spirit
- It means you’re pushing out of your comfort zone into new, unfamiliar territories
If we spend all our time in comfort zones, we won’t grow as creatives. We’ll simply refine skills we already have. Celebrate the failures that are inherent in trying new things and you’ll be better off in the long run.
Learn from your failures
The key to building off failure is realizing that failure isn’t the end result—it’s the start of discovering an alternate approach that could work better. Every time you miss the mark, there is an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t dwell on the disappointment. Rather, take advantage of the situation to broaden your understanding. Stay optimistic and know it’s part of the learning process. If you’re willing to face failure head-on, you’ll be rewarded with the newfound knowledge that comes along with it. And while failing might sting a little at first, it’s all about what you do from that point moving forward.
Failing is inevitable. The sooner we come to terms with this reality, the better. But we need to reframe the idea of failure as a positive and necessary step in personal growth. We should be seeking it out (and even welcoming it). It happens to everyone, and it’s up to you to make the most of it. If you’re willing to make time to fail, be proud of your failures and learn from them—you’ll be on your way to realizing your true potential.