I have a tendency to hoard my failures and guard them fiercely. Why? Because my failures serve as warning signs for me. Before I take a risk I review my failures and then decide if the risk is worth taking.
“Great real estate investment here!”
“Sorry,” I say, “I failed at my last real estate purchase. I won’t ever do that again.”
“Here’s a great guy for you.”
“Sorry,” I say, “my last relationship was a supreme failure. I will not venture into that territory again.”
Okay, maybe I’m not quite that extreme. For instance, I have had more than one relationship failure which proves that I do take on a relationship risk after a failure.
However, I’m definitely more cautious when I take the next risk. I don’t mean a good cautious. I mean over-cautious which keeps me standoffish and watchful. It is a terrible way to approach any life step.
I recently experienced a supreme epic failure that brought me to my knees. While on my knees I had a realization. No one was coming to rescue me. This was MY failure.
I’m not the first person to experience massive failure, I realized. What did other victims of extreme failures do to turn things around? I made a decision at that point to figure it out.
This is what I figured out …
Before I could turn that failure around I had to own it. In order to own it I had to articulate the lesson I learned from it. I’m not talking about the “don’t make a decision like that again” lesson. I’m talking about the “this experience shows me that x, y and z worked but a, b and c didn’t work” lesson.
I recently read an article about risk and how the fear of failure is what creates risk averse people. The same article suggested that workplaces where people share their failures and the lessons learned from them motivates people to change and drives innovation.
I think the authors are right.
By owning my failure I had to really think through the good and the bad. That process taught me valuable lessons and pushed me forward.
Sharing my failure also helped me to own it. Expressing the lessons I learned pushed me beyond the easy “don’t do that again” lesson to the big “A HA!” life lesson.
The entire process took the negative feeling of failure away and left me with a feeling of empowerment. It made me better at dealing with life and similar obstacles. I am also more innovative when it comes to facing obstacles than before.
I created this forum so that you can own your failure and articulate your big lessons.
So go ahead. Now is the time to give up your failures and move forward!