How Effective Leaders Fail Successfully?

Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time, was devastated when he was cut from his high school varsity basketball team sophomore year. Good thing failure only inspired him to work harder.

Here’s what he said about failure:

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

In essence, failure is not the opposite of success but rather an integral part of the journey toward it. Embracing failure, learning from it, and using it as a stepping stone to greater achievements is key to achieving success in any aspect of life.

👍 Failure is a necessary step towards success

Failure, often feared and avoided, holds profound benefits for personal and professional growth. It serves as a potent catalyst for learning, offering insights and lessons that success cannot impart. Through failure, individuals develop resilience, learning to bounce back from setbacks with renewed determination. It fosters innovation and creativity, pushing individuals to explore new approaches and solutions.

Moreover, failure cultivates humility and empathy, encouraging collaboration and a willingness to seek support. Embracing failure as a natural part of the journey not only builds character but also propels individuals towards greater achievements, ultimately leading to lasting success and fulfillment.

💪 How to deal with failure?

Instead of fearing failure, we should learn how to cope with it. We should use it to our advantage. Here are seven abilities that a person needs to fail forward:

1️⃣ Acceptance and Emotional Processing: start by acknowledging your feelings about a failure. It's natural to feel disappointed, frustrated, demotivated. But, paying attention to your feelings and reflecting on them will point you in the direction of what exactly needs to change or improve. “Where your fear is, there is your task” - Carl Jung.

2️⃣ Don’t blame others - reflect: Even if it might not be your fault, you played a role. Always start with yourself, because that is what you can change the most. Take time to reflect on your actions, and see what you can improve.

3️⃣ You fail only if you quit: The game is not over until you say it’s over! If you see a failure as just another try (another attempt), and keep going, then you are transforming that setback into just another learning opportunity that is a step forward in your journey toward success. “I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps” - Thomas Edison.

4️⃣ Embrace a Growth Mindset: Understand that failure is not a reflection of your inherent abilities but rather an opportunity for learning and growth. This perspective encourages resilience and a willingness to face challenges head-on. You will fail from time to time, but that doesn’t make you a failure!

5️⃣ Conduct Small Experiments: Approach new initiatives as experiments where failure is not only an option but an expected part of the process. This approach reduces the fear of failure and encourages innovation by allowing you to test ideas in a controlled, low-stakes environment.

6️⃣ Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself in the face of failure. Acknowledge your efforts and the courage it took to try. Practicing self-compassion fosters emotional resilience, enabling you to bounce back more quickly. And have at least one person to debrief with, your confidant, who will hold your thoughts and reflections in a friendly and kind way.

📚 Book Recommendation: "Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success" by John C. Maxwell

To deepen your understanding of why failure is the key to success, we recommend "Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success" by John C. Maxwell. This groundbreaking book will provide you with insights into:

  • What’s the main difference between people who achieve and people who are average?

    • Achievers view failures as learning opportunities and use them to propel forward, whereas average individuals often see them as permanent setbacks.

  • A new definition of failure and success.

    • Maxwell suggests redefining failure as a step toward success and success as the ability to persist through failures without losing enthusiasm.

  • Seven abilities that a person needs to fail forward.

    • Maxwell outlines essential skills that transform failures into steps toward success.

Read a full book summary HERE.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." — Winston Churchill

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