Many people have an overwhelming fear of failure. This usually stems from societal programming that tells us how negative and even shameful failure is.
However, the reality is that failure is a necessary part of life. It is just one step of thousands you will take. It is unreasonable to expect to complete each task in life perfectly on the first attempt.
Failure simply means that you have made mistakes, and you can learn from these mistakes to improve your future efforts. It is not the end of the process. Truly great leaders understand the importance of mistakes and failure, and they are comfortable with the concept of failure. In fact, there are four primary reasons why you should embrace failure if you want to be a great leader.
1. Failure Is a Learning Experience
Great leaders understand that they will make mistakes, and they also understand that their employees will make mistakes. These should not be viewed as a setback or something to feel ashamed by.
Instead, these moments should be educational and acceptable. Your corporate culture should be flexible and tolerant of failures, but the goal should always be focused on moving forward.
Your team should know that they need to quickly determine why they failed and push forward, and nobody should be ridiculed or scolded for making mistakes.
2. You Will Become More Resilient
You may be familiar with the adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is a great mentality to adopt as an entrepreneur or business professional. Failure only comes when you quit trying, but success can be achieved when you persevere and endure through hardship.
There is considerable value in learning from mistakes. While there may be an initial setback or financial loss, the ability to build character and improve in different areas during these periods of time is beneficial. In fact, it can even lay the foundation to achieve greater things in the months and years to come.
3. No One Is Perfect
Nobody is born perfect or omniscient, and despite your best efforts, you will never reach these points in your life. Everyone has flaws, weaknesses, and gaps in knowledge. It is unhealthy to think that you could ever be perfect, and it puts unnecessary stress on you to set perfection as a goal.
When you understand this fact and make a mistake, you inevitably accept your imperfection with minimal stress. Furthermore, you can more easily identify and learn from your mistakes.
4. Most Successful People Have Failed at Some Point
When you see leading names in your industry, you inevitably equate their names with success and even perfection. However, when you learn more about each of these industry leaders, you likely will hear stories about struggle and how they overcame adversity in different ways.
Steve Jobs is a perfect example of this. His success is well-known, but it only came about through rough times wrought with setbacks and monumental comebacks. Great leaders can look beyond their current emotions associated with their latest failure and see an eventually positive outcome that they can create going forward. In the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Few people enjoy failing, and most would prefer a positive outcome from the initial effort regardless of what they attempt doing. However, failure is an inevitability with many things that you may attempt, but it is not the end of the process. In fact, you may fail numerous times before you get it right, and this means that failure is simply part of the total process.
Great leaders are not shamed by failure, and they do not attempt to mask their failures. Instead, they learn lessons, determine what went wrong and make a solid effort to get back on track with a corrected course and updated business plan.
Put self-loathing and embarrassment associated with your mistakes aside, and focus on embracing the failure for the learning opportunity that is. After all, the bigger dangers are of not taking risks and of giving up. Great leaders understand the need to constantly strive to move forward regardless of the obstacles they face.
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