We tend to think of failure as something shameful, undesirable.
Understandably, failing to achieve it often cause negative feelings, no matter
how big or small the goal was.
And the only way to overcome those feelings is by changing the way
we understand failure - it is part of the process of success and leaves
valuable lessons if we know how to learn from it.
Three ways to
redefine failure and learn from it effectively.
be afraid to make mistakes - Learning from your mistakes is about more than just thinking about
what went wrong. The first step towards using failure as a tool for success is
to stop seeing mistakes as shameful.
Think about it - a mistake is not just a natural
part of embarking on a new project; it is also part of the human
experience. As such, they should be accepted as a necessary step towards
achieving your goals.
In her article
"Strategies for Learning from Failure", Amy C. Edmondson classifies
mistakes in three categories:
These are the mistakes we often think of as bad. They result from
lack of focus or attention to the procedures needed to achieve the goal.
These mistakes happen when the goal is the product of many factors
- your own motivation, previous skills, your environment, support network, and
the resources you have to accomplish it. If any of these fail, you might be
unable to achieve the goal.
According to Adam Mendler in his article What Sales Executives Can Learn From Failure, having the freedom to
make mistakes increases creativity and work performance. Without unnecessary
pressures to avoid mistakes and the shame that comes with it, employees
contribute more frequently and are able to express more original ideas.
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