Why success doesn’t make sense until you embrace your failures

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The prevailing wisdom would have us believe that failure should be avoided at all costs and that success is the only option. However, it may not be as black and white as it is claimed.

Yes, there are life and death situations where there is tremendous pressure to be successful. Think of a surgeon performing emergency surgery. But even then, you don’t have to believe that there is no room for failure in your life. There is a risk that this mindset will prevent you from making sense of success.

Success becomes less enjoyable when you constantly look over your shoulder and try to avoid failure. You stop enjoying the grind since all that interests you is the end goal.

While this all-or-nothing mindset may seem inspiring from the outside, the reality is that it can cost you dearly and hamper your potential. Let’s explore its potential impact and how accepting your failures can help you cope.

Related: The Fine Line Between Success And Failure Is A Positive Mindset

1. Perfectionism

It’s natural to obsess over the smallest detail when you tell yourself that there is no room for failure. You fear that the slightest mistake could cost you dearly. This often leads to micromanagement, decision paralysis, an unhealthy work culture, long approval cycles, and cost accumulations.

When you’re ready to embrace failure, you’re less likely to be obsessed with every detail or interfere in affairs beyond your job. As a leader, you start to trust others more. And decision making becomes more decentralized, allowing your team to be much more proactive and responsive.

2. Experimentation

There is very little room for experimentation when you are not ready to accept the possibility of failure. Devoting time and resources to something new may not be seen as viable. Instead, you will stick to the proven methods because they are almost guaranteed to be successful. This kind of short-termism can stunt your growth, lose your first-mover advantage and cause market failure.

If you can put aside your fear of failure and conduct thoughtful experiments, you will gain valuable new information that none of your competition could have. More importantly, it can help you make data-driven decisions and forecasts, and prevent you from making investment decisions that are out of step with market conditions.

3. Blame the culture

The culture of blame is a by-product of a lack of fault tolerance. You start to believe that mistakes and mistakes are unforgivable and that there is nothing more shameful than failure. Your goal tends to be to find out who is to blame for the mistake, rather than what caused it. More often than not, corrective action will see someone blame, but the underlying problem remains unresolved. This kind of half-baked approach will hamper productivity and affect morale as well.

Examining failure is hard work, whether it’s yours or your team’s. In addition to dealing with personal insecurities and abandoned egos, you will need to question the effectiveness of long-standing processes and procedures. This is only possible if you are fault tolerant. It allows you to tackle the problem in a scientific and transparent way. And only then will you be able to quickly identify the root causes and work on them.

Related: Get Out of the Blame Trap and Start Changing Unwanted Outcomes

4. Self-discovery

Focusing only on your successes won’t reveal too much about yourself. Analyzing them can help you list the tactics and strategies that have worked for you, but it will be difficult to determine how the different factors contributed to success.

On the other hand, dealing with failure helps you identify precisely what went wrong or where it went wrong. You can narrow the cause down to a particular decision you made or a specific weakness of your own. This way you will know what needs to be fixed and establish an appropriate course of action.

5. Spirit of growth

Success can often mask bigger issues you face, which escalate with an all-or-nothing mindset. Due to the constant pressure to be successful, people can end up overlooking glaring issues that could potentially turn everything upside down. You won’t realize this until the dominoes start to fall. Complacency could be another reason behind this.

Leaders who embrace failure are more likely to operate with a growth mindset. They can fail regularly, but mostly it will be controlled and fast. This way, whenever they fail, they extract several valuable insights that help them innovate and stay ahead of their competition.

Conclusion

As a leader, accepting failure doesn’t mean you encourage mediocrity. Instead, you create an environment where employees continually seek to learn and innovate. They appreciate what it takes to be successful and are under no pressure to inflate the numbers, underestimate or cover up mistakes and mistakes.

Related: Determine What Success Really Means To You


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