Success and failure are at the opposite poles in life. We all want to succeed, and of course no one wants to fail. However, failure is part of our journey of learning, and sometimes we can turn failure into a success story.
Here are seven lessons leaders have learnt from failing and how we can learn from our own failures:
1. It is not the end of the road.
Sometimes failure can feel like the end of the road. It is important that you don’t let this feeling overwhelm you. The moment you give up is the moment you do fail. Standing up after falling down takes the biggest effort. It takes tremendous courage to pick up where you have fallen off. But you can. Take heart in knowing others have been where you are and come through.
2. Take some time.
After you have experienced failure, it is normal to feel anxious and depressed. It is not a sign of weakness, rather a natural response to failure. Do not rush it and feel as though you need to bounce back immediately. Give yourself a reasonable time to recover and put a plan together on how you can turn things around.
3. Recognise that you don’t know everything.
According to psychologists, our bodies have the “fight or flight” response to a sudden stress event, and if we experience an attack, whether it be physical or mental, we have the natural response to defend ourselves. It is important during this time to listen to feedback without taking it too personally. Being overly defensive only hampers your learning. If you are open to criticism and to change, you can grow. To improve oneself, it sometimes requires tremendous amounts of humility and honesty.
4. Get help.
Once you recognise that you do not know everything, you can start getting help from others. Your colleagues, family and friends, can help, and there are expert coaches in this field. A successful leader will not shy away from asking help when it is required.
5. Embrace failure.
Sometimes, the failure itself is not fearsome. It is just our ego talking when we fear to fail. It will lose its power once we embrace it and accept it. Once it loses power over you, you can start moving forward and plan your next attack.
6. Do not take yourself too seriously.
So, what if you fail? Often, it is just our fear of what others will think of us that cripples us and hampers our growth as a person. Remember, some of the greatest minds in history have also failed numerous times in their life. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, just to name a few. But they did not let their failures define their entire career.
7. Learn from your mistakes.
As cliché as it sounds, learning from your mistakes is the only way to succeed. When you learn from your mistakes, you avoid doing the same mistake twice. It’s often easier said than done! Sometimes, we let our innate stubbornness take over and refuse to change our old ways. Thus, is it important that you also keep an open mind and explore other ways to fix the problem.
Indeed, success becomes sweeter amidst a sea of failures. To succeed, we need to leave our egos at the door. Look at each failure as an opportunity to do better and eventually succeed.