This week’s topic is one that has taken me years to become comfortable with: mistakes and failures. I feel like there has been a shift in my lifetime, in that there is now more recognition that mistakes are often a sign of progress, of learning, of stepping outside our comfort zone in a way that they perhaps weren’t previously. Have you noticed that too?
Making mistakes is the opposite end of the spectrum to perfectionism. Trying to be perfect can inhibit growth and learning, which come by being willing to try new things but with the risk of making mistakes.
LEARNING THROUGH FAILURE…
Barack Obama wisely said:
“Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. […] I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed. These people succeeded because they understood, you can’t let your failures define you, you have to let your failures teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently the next time.” You have to let your failures teach you. And that means you need to be open to making mistakes, and capable of learning from them!
Olympic gold medallist skier Lindsay Vonn agrees: “I think that understanding that failure is the best tool in your toolbox is so important. Failure is what teaches us what to work on, how to be better. It’s not an indicator of when to stop or to quit. It’s an indicator of how to get better.
I love these perspectives! I wish I had learned this mindset much earlier in life: the importance of embracing failure as a key component of growth and development.
Only recently did I hear the acronym for FAIL as First Attempt in Learning. I love that!
There is also this version:
LEARNING AS GROWTH…
How often is this you?
So much about the growth mindset around mistakes and failures is recognizing how far you’ve come, not only how far you might still have to go. On a recent episode of the How to Fail podcast, the host discussed exactly this with her guest, Jordan Stephens. He shared his thoughts around “how you spend so much time looking for the puzzle pieces, but once the jigsaw puzzle is complete, you just push it aside and start the next one, rather than admiring the puzzle you’ve completed.” In order to learn from our mistakes, we need to actually look at them!
MISTAKES VS FAILURES…
What actually is the difference between mistakes and failures?! This episode of The Long and the Short of It dives into that topic. Do failures have a finality to them that mistakes don’t? And how can we bring some of the impermanence of mistakes to our understanding of failure?
Reshma Saujani, who wrote the brilliant book Brave not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, Live Bolder even instituted a #FailureFriday in her company. To celebrate the failures everyone makes, and to embrace and highlight that we all do make mistakes. The key is to learn from them!
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO…
I am a total podcast junkie, and especially love a podcast that I can binge. Last week a client who shares my love of podcasts gave me an excellent recommendation. The podcast is in German, so from here on the recommendation will be too! 😉
Sie hat einen Spotify-Original-Podcast namens Boys Club empfohlen. Es geht um den Skandal um Julian Reichelt bei der Bild-Zeitung. Um ehrlich zu sein, hatte ich noch nicht viel über den Skandal gehört und ich höre selten deutsche Podcasts, aber ich weiß, dass diese Klientin nur tolle Sachen empfehlt, also war ich bereit, es zu probieren. Sie sagte auch, es sei, als würde man einen Thriller hören. Und das war es auch! Ich habe die 8 Folgen in 3 Tagen durchgebinged und war von Anfang an gefesselt. So gut. Es geht um Sexismus, die “Me Too”-Bewegung und es gibt viele Parallelen zu Ronan Farrows Podcast “Catch and Kill” über Harvey Weinstein. Boys Club: Macht und Missbrauch bei Axel Springer war gut recherchiert, brillant erzählt und gleichzeitig fesselnd, empörend, frustrierend und informativ. Auf jeden Fall zum Hören wert!
While mistakes can feel embarrassing, and often our first instinct is to avoid or disregard them, they really are a great tool for self-improvement. As with all steps outside of our comfort zone, they aren’t always easy or fun, but getting to the growth zone necessitates travelling through the fear and learning zones!
Hope your toolkit also includes making mistakes and learning from failures.
Have a wonderful weekend and a beautiful start to this new month!
Be emotional. Stay healthy.