Failure Is An Option. Being A Failure Isn’t.
I often ask leaders and their teams how they deal with failure. On several occasions I’ve been told, “Failure is not an option on our team.”
I can appreciate the value of this extreme mindset when we are launching the space shuttle or doing a heart transplant. But in the vast majority of daily situations, failure is the inevitable result of trying new things, taking risks, and getting outside our comfort zone.
Failure is an option
We might not choose to fail on purpose, but by pushing the limits of our knowledge and capability, we are certainly opening ourselves up to it. Most of the biggest breakthroughs were preceded by multiple failures.
Why are people so afraid of failure?
Because we falsely connect failing with being a failure. We get so invested in success as a measure of our human worth that we start to believe that our value is conditional on avoiding failure. That’s a drama-based false narrative.
Compassionate Accountability® views failure differently
Compassionate accountability rejects the myths of conditional self-worth and recognizes that we can strive for excellence, fall short, and still be OK as a human being.
Compassionate accountability turns failure into a stepping stone for greater success because:
- Failure is only linked to behaviors, strategies, and execution, not the person. We strive. We fail. We learn. We adjust our approach.
- Pursuing excellence is a positive motivator because it sees success as a process and assumes failure along the way.
- Perfection is the enemy of excellence and self-esteem. Expecting perfection is based on a myth that being perfect means being valuable as a human.
- Failed efforts are never tied to personal worth. You failed, but you aren’t a failure.
Instead of living not to fail, start living to fail often, fail spectacularly, and fail forward. Because you are not a failure and will never be a failure.