When you think of the word "failure," what comes to mind? Probably a dark gloomy cloud, something you try to avoid, or perhaps a memory from your past saying, "failure is not an option." The truth is, epic failure happens to most successful people. How can you know where to improve if you never fail? Walt Disney was fired from one of his first animation jobs because his editor told him he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas." Oprah Winfrey was publicly fired from her first television anchor gig for getting "too emotionally involved with her stories."
However, failures will not automatically lead you to success; it’s shifting your relationship with failure that makes the difference. Trouble is, many leaders have a difficult time even admitting when they were wrong. Failing to admit and learn from mistakes will only lead to more dramatic failure. However, learning from it will almost always lead to success, growth and advancement.
Failure Demands Reflection
Choosing to move forward and learn requires you to take a step back, reflect on what happened, and work on resolving the situation. You essentially want to build a solid foundation for improvement. This can be difficult, and even painful, as you may learn what you need to evolve is yourself.
It Provides Redirection
When it comes to finding success, or accomplishing anything long-term, things aren't going to work overnight. Simplified down, it becomes a process of trial and error. When you go down one path and it doesn’t work out, that provides you with answers on how to execute the situation next time. Reflecting on each failure along the way will redirect you to success.
It Opens More Doors
Reflecting and redirecting your path will often lead you to think in new ways and bring out opportunities you hadn't thought existed. Adapting to this way of thinking means you're no longer giving into failure, rather embracing it and using it for the better.
Failure Builds Character
Genuinely creating value with your audience requires determination, purpose, direction and an underlying trait some like to call "grit." There is no better driving motivator to build character than failure. Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran even says she specifically looks for it in the people she invests in, stating "...They're usually hungrier. Their more injured. They have more to prove." While each success propels you forward an inch, each failure will forge your character even further.
Success takes intelligence to admit when you're wrong. It takes determination to try different paths. More than anything it requires an understanding that failure is never the end; it’s only the beginning.