No one starts out trying to fail, but failure is a part of life, and business is no exception. Too often, failure is seen as something to be avoided at all costs, after all, who wants to be called a failure and carry that stigma around with them. It makes you a lesser person, right?
No, failure is a necessary part of success.
We often think that failure is something to be avoided at all costs. From a very early age, we are taught that failure is bad and that nothing good can come from it. But if we look at the concept of failure more objectively and forget our default coding, failure can be a positive experience.
If you take the time to look at failure for what it really is, you’ll find that it can actually be a valuable tool for helping you reach your goals. In fact, failing in life and business can provide invaluable lessons that can help you grow and become more successful.
Table of Contents
Teaching failure as a strength
Teaching failure as a source of strength should start in the classroom and continue into the workplace. In kindergarten, failure is an accepted byproduct of the learning process; it is ok for Tommy or Samantha to mess up and make mistakes; after all, they are three years old, right?
But somewhere between kindergarten and high school, making mistakes and failing at things becomes bad and we are judged negatively for it. This is partly due to an education system that needs a way to rank, reward and gauge the progress of its output and partly due to a social system that judges success and status through a comparative lens, which starts in the playground and continues into social media and beyond.
Apps like Instagram and TikTok are hyper examples of “no failure acceptable” environments. No one “flexing” with their Gucci Bag or showing off their Lamborghini got there from failing, Right?
Or did they?
When students are taught to embrace failure and see it as a learning opportunity at an early age, they develop important resilience skills that can help them succeed down the line. Knowing how to cope with failure is an important part of learning to take risks; if you don’t fear failing, you’re more likely to try something new and innovative, which could lead to huge successes later in life.
Failure can also teach humility, empathy, and perspective. They can learn that life isn’t always perfect and that it’s ok if things don’t go exactly according to plan. It also helps us understand the importance of perseverance, determination, and hard work — all essential qualities for success in any field or endeavor.
Build a corporate culture where failure is an acceptable outcome.
By teaching failure as a strategy, companies can help their teams develop resilience and foster an atmosphere of creativity and innovation.
It can encourage them to take risks and explore new ideas without fear of making mistakes, being judged by others or losing their jobs. When we are taught that failure is part of the learning process, we are more likely to take on challenges, even if we don’t know how yet to solve them.
This helps us develop problem-solving skills that will be valuable throughout our working lives. Make it acceptable to fail within your organization if something is learnt from the process.
Failing in business can help you and your company gain perspective and become better focused on your goals. It can help you identify what went wrong and what areas need improvement. When you look back on the situation, it’s important to focus on the things that didn’t work instead of dwelling on the negative emotions associated with failure.
This will allow you to take a more rational approach to problem-solving and decision making going forward.
Personal and Professional Growth
Failing also helps you learn from your mistakes and become better equipped to handle similar situations in the future. It gives you and your team an opportunity to reflect on what went wrong so that the next time around, the outcome may be different.
By learning from our failures, we can improve ourselves personally and professionally by developing new skills such as communication, resilience or problem-solving abilities that will help us succeed in the future.
Understanding Risk vs Reward
Failure also teaches us about risk versus reward — when should we take risks, and when should we stay within our comfort zones? While taking risks can lead to great rewards, there is always a chance of failure, which must be considered when deciding how much risk is worth taking for any venture.
Understanding this balance helps us weigh potential outcomes before committing too heavily or too quickly.
Failure is an Opportunity
When we fail, we are presented with an opportunity to learn and grow from our mistakes. Every time we make a mistake or fail in some way, it teaches us something about ourselves and how we approach things.
It gives us the insight and knowledge we need to do better next time and helps us strengthen our skills to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.
Failure Can Lead to Creativity
Fear of failure can limit our imagination, preventing us from exploring new ideas or pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone. We become so focused on avoiding failure that we neglect to consider how taking risks could help us realize new possibilities and reach greater heights professionally and personally.
This means that we are not able to fully explore the problem or task placed in front of us or our creative potential, which ultimately hampers progress.
The idea of not being able to accomplish something can be demoralizing and discouraging, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of seeing failure as a roadblock, see it as an opportunity to get creative with how you approach the task or challenge at hand.
When faced with an obstacle or problem that seems impossible to solve, use failure as a jumping-off point for exploring new ideas and solutions that may otherwise have gone unexplored.
Failure Can Make You More Resilient
Failing once means nothing — it’s when you fail multiple times without giving up that real progress starts to happen. Resilience is key when trying to reach any goal; success requires persistence and dedication, even in the face of adversity and setbacks. So don’t give up! Use each setback as motivation rather than letting it define your experience or dictate your future actions.
The Power of Pivoting
The failure of a product, service or business can mean taking what you learn and starting again from scratch, but it can also help point you to smaller tweaks, refinements or a shift in direction. Failure isn’t always the end of the world or the death of an idea; it may just mean you need to pivot and adjust your strategy.
For example, consider tweaking the product or service by adding features, streamlining its design, or focusing on an aspect of the offering that shows potential even though it was not the original focus. The key here is to look at failure not as an endpoint but as an opportunity to make changes and find a better solution.
There are numerous examples of startup founders launching with one idea and quickly pivoting into something different as their product or service hits the market and comes in contact with the end user.
The reality is that some of today’s most successful innovators and products were born from a series of failures.
• James Dyson, the founder of the company Dyson, a now dominant brand in the vacuum cleaning industry, had to develop 5,271 failed prototypes before he finally found a vacuum that worked.
• It took Steve Jobs two attempts to make Apple what it is today. After he was fired in 1985, he returned to the company in 1997 to build it into one of the most successful tech companies on the planet.
• The useful and well-known lubricant WD-40 is named as such because it took 40 attempts to get the formula correct.
• Youtube.com started as an online dating service that ultimately failed but had an exceptional video and uploading feature that allowed the founders to pivot into the video streaming giant it is today.
In conclusion: Failing in business may not seem like something we should actively seek out; however, it can be a key learning experience which allows you to gain perspective on your goals while helping you understand risk vs reward and grow personally through self-reflection and understanding of mistakes made.
Most importantly, though, it allows you to learn from mistakes so that your chances of success are increased dramatically the next time around!
At the end of the day, failure happens — it’s inevitable — but it doesn’t have to mean disaster for your business plans. Instead of looking at failure as an insurmountable obstacle, look at it as an opportunity to learn from mistakes and adjust accordingly so your business can continue growing and evolving into something bigger and better than ever!
After all, risk-taking is an essential part of entrepreneurship, and sometimes failure is simply part of the process when trying something new or experimenting with different strategies. So don’t be afraid of taking chances; instead, embrace them and learn from any missteps along the way.
By starting to view failure as a process of elimination rather than the deaf an idea or direction, you begin to reframe failure as a positive outcome.
The most successful people are those who continually strive for improvement no matter what life throws their way; they have the resilience and determination needed to push through any obstacle they encounter on their path towards success.