Failure is part of life, and most certainly part of business. We don't often acknowledge it, but failure is also a fundamental element of our success.
Our instinct is to be ashamed of failure, maybe because we don't like how it makes us feel--humiliated, as though we have done something wrong.
But if you can shift your perspective and look at failure not as something to be ashamed of but something valuable, you can begin to understand that it's through failure that we truly learn to succeed.
The sooner we stop shaming our failures, the easier it will be to turn them to our advantage. Here are seven points to think about:
1. Mistakes are not a problem, but not taking the opportunity to learn from them is. Identify your mistakes and learn from them quickly. Many successful people have experienced some kind of failure--and they build on those lessons. Learning to fail well means learning to understand your mistakes. In every mistake there is a potential for growth.
2. Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you are listening. Self-talk can be incredibly damaging, especially after a failure. Handle your self-talk and don't allow it to make you feel worthless--especially in the aftermath of a failure. Let it sting for a moment, and then do everything you can to stay positive and get back on track.
3. It's far better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly. The only true failure is doing nothing--inaction puts everything at risk. When we do nothing, it means we are not moving anywhere. And that is a surefire way to stay in failure. All that is required for failure to triumph is for us to do nothing.
4. We are products of our past, but we don't have to let our mistakes define us. Even if the past did not go as we had hoped, our future can still be better than we can envision. Too often, we're afraid to talk about our past and our failures out of fear that they'll define us. Let it out, but stay focused on what's ahead.
5. The enemy of success is fear of failure. It's not failure itself that's so dangerous--it's the fear of failure that keeps us doing nothing. Like all fears, you conquer it by facing it down. And when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it wrong, that is when your true work begins.
6. Consistent action creates consistent results. Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from mastering the things you once thought you couldn't do. So let yourself fall down, but learn to dust yourself off and get up and move forward. What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while. Consistency is key to success.
7. You can't do it alone--and you don't have to. Sometimes our failures keep us stuck in our old ways and we need support to help us get past our bad habits. The worst thing we can do is think we need to handle this alone. Find a coach, a mentor, or a friend who supports you in your efforts and has the experience to get you pointed toward your own success.
Failure is the only way to grow yourself and grow your organization, because ultimately, it is how we learn to succeed.