Why it’s totally OK to fail and why maybe it could be good for you
|November 25, 2011||Posted by Richard Scott under Career Planning, Corporate Life, mentors, motivation, networking, Partner, Personal Performance, relationships, Sense of purpose, Work Life Balance|
What would you say if I said you may be subconsciously afraid of failure? I know I was and maybe still am, a little bit. I think we are innocently programmed by our parents, by school and by society at large to be all about avoiding failure and subsequently we fear it.
Why wouldn’t we fear failure? Failure can have many negative ramifications – wealth, career, liberty, relationships and the list goes on.
A famous Australian billionaire and gambler, Kerry Packer (deceased), whom once was lauded to having offered a brash Texas millionaire whilst gambling in Las Vegas to flip for the Texan’s $150m fortune, was once approached by an entrepreneur whom was seeking financial investment from Kerry – his response was “Have you ever failed? “ and the entrepreneur said “ No “ – to which Kerry said, “Come back when you have!”. You don’t get to be a billionaire without having a few failures.
Another story I heard recently was that a Google Mid-Level Executive had to admit to his boss that he had lost or wasted $1 million in a failed venture. His boss’s reaction was, “good” – this is because his boss knows that you can’t grow and innovate unless you take risks and he also knew this executive probably wouldn’t make the same mistake again.
Finally, a friend of mine – Paul – whom currently runs his own software company turning over more than $10m per annum – recently told me that his first three ventures were total failures and the last one he was left with only $10,000 in his pocket. Paul believes he wouldn’t be where he is today if he hadn’t experienced his failed ventures.
So why is it OK to fail? Why may failure actually be good for you?
- Failure allows us to reflect on what went wrong and what went right, we can reflect on what we will do different – we learn an incredible amount.
- Failure allows us to be more resilient to the peaks and troughs, handle stress more effectively. It gives us an edge as we know what failure looks and feels like.
- Failure can lead to increased determination. We’ve all heard that a problem is just an opportunity. If every athlete that lost didn’t try harder they wouldn’t be much of an athlete. The world is full of entrepreneurs who came back twice as strong after their fall.
Creates opportunity for change
- Failure creates an opportunity to clear the slate for a fresh start. This can allow for a change in mindset and allow you to approach life and business in a new way that you may have never had been willing to before.
Expands your comfort zone
- One thing in life is that if we only ever live within our comfort zone then we can’t really grow. Failure can take us way outside our comfort zone therefore making it larger and leading us to new opportunities.
One thing I always ask myself as I am approaching a ‘danger of failure ‘ situation is, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” If I invest $5,000 and lose it can I recover? Yes! “If I totally screw up this job can I get another one? Yes!”
I know that sometimes failure means painful residue like long term debt, broken relationships, busted career plans and many others. Failure also gives us opportunity and sometimes if can lead to a better life than we ever expected. Cheers,