There are times when “Failure isn’t Fatal.” While the phrase is “nice,” the truth is that when we fail, sometimes things don’t work out as well as we hoped. There are consequences to failure.
I watch a show called, “Air Disasters” on the Smithsonian Channel. I have always been fascinated by aviation. Each episode begins with an airplane tragedy, discusses the investigation, and then ends with how this tragedy created enhanced safety measures and protocols for the airline industry so another disaster like it, never happens again. This is a case, where, unfortunately, failure is fatal.
In the workplace, leadership sets the tone for what failure looks like and its consequences. No one wants to fail. No one wants to make mistakes. But, there are times when great inventions have resulted from a mistake or a failure. Check out this article about ten inventions that were made by mistake. Without an environment where making mistakes or failure is allowed, creativity suffers, and people become fearful of what failure may mean for them.
Here is one of those moments where I felt like I failed. When I was a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to perform “O Holy Night” at the Holiday Concert. The day of the concert, I lost my voice. I did everything I could to get my voice back. I drank lots of tea. I sucked on lemons. I drank plenty of water and kept trying to get my voice back. By concert time, my choir director asked me to decide whether or not; I was going to sing. I said, “Yes” because I wasn’t going to let anything take away my moment.
I got a moment alright. My director cued me in for my solo, and nothing came out of my mouth. I won’t tell you what I mouthed in front of 300 people, but it wasn’t “O Holy Night.” I was embarrassed and mortified. I felt like I could never sing in front of people again. I failed. And while “failure isn’t fatal,” I sure put that audience through three minutes of pain.
Just a few months later, I was back on stage singing in a competition with a healthy voice and did just fine. I just needed to get back on the proverbial horse and remember, that I really should never sing when I have laryngitis. Lesson learned!
Through failure, we learn about resilience, perseverance, and tenacity.
With failure, we learn how to solve problems, so those same mistakes don’t happen again.
When we fail, we gain support and encouragement from those closest to us, who believe in us, so we can step forward and do amazing things.
Lastly, through failure, we can identify and recognize our “Zone of Genius.” This zone is the place where we shine, thrive, and are the “go-to” person. We are the experts, and people rely on us to help them because of our particular knowledge.
Failure can be scary, but it is a learning opportunity.
Without trying something, we will never know if we fail or if we succeed.
Be more aware of WHERE you hear the word “failure.”
What is its context?
How likely are you to believe that context when you hear it?
What does “failure” look like for you? (And is a failure even an option?)
We are all a little closer to our Zone of Genius given our failures and successes!