Those who know me know this statement isn’t like me. Don’t get me wrong. Failure is part of my life, but I don’t dwell on it. In fact, totally the opposite. According to the Clifton Strengths Finder, my number one strength is Positivity.
Positive people don’t dwell on failure. But maybe we should…
…at least occasionally.
Today, my daughter shared with me a video of Sara Blakely in a news interview. Sara is the billionaire founder of Spanx. (Guys, if you don’t know, ask your wives or girl friends.) Sara shared that, every night at dinner, her father would ask the question, “What did you fail at today?” If there was no failure to report, Blakely’s father would express disappointment. Rather than “Did you have a good day?” or “What did you learn in school today?”, Sara’s father redefined failure for her and her brother. She learned that, instead of failure being the outcome, it became not trying, and it forced her out of her comfort zone. She was taught that failure is part of the learning process, and failure is simply feedback on what we need to work on next.
So I’ll share…after this month, I’ll have LOTS of feedback! It’s been a tough one. I’ve failed at communicating well with our production team, and we were late. I failed at planning deeper, so stories that missed deadline would have replacements. In short, I learned a lot! Most likely, you (the reader) would never have known. We have learned to build in windows of time here and there to adjust for the “unknown” so we can still publish on time. It hides our failures.
As school gears up for a new year, think about redefining failure. Studies show that when avoiding failure is a primary focus, our work becomes more stressful and harder to do. Encourage your kids, grandkids, and friends when they try something and fail. They’re just learning. Help them embrace it and find the positive nugget in it!
Until next time ~ Karen