Someone very close to me is about to begin a very cool new gig. Its a role that most would love and in fact be envious of (I sure am - and will be blogging about it soon!). So this is for her and anyone else who wants to optimize their path to success.
Look, I preach failure. I do. I believe that one has to fail their way to success, in fact its the only sure fire way to achieve it -- by learning from your failures. There is no innovation without failure. Failure is not something you avoid! Its something to embrace.
I like encouraging my clients to hold Failure Friday get togethers... grab a pizza, some beer and wine - invite the team to join you and invite other teams at your organization to participate. Go thru the week's successes and failures... spend 10 minutes on the successes, then delve into the failures. Figure out as a team why it didn't work, and what you can learn from it. How would you do it differently? Having outside teams there are critical because they can give you a non-rose colored glasses perspective...they can look at your failures and give you truly objective insight into how to do it differently.
And most importantly, you have to make these celebrations of failure. If you find you and your team headed to beating yourself up over them, then you're headed in the completely wrong direction.
Mitch Ditkoff who blogs on innovation, has collected some useful quotes on the value of failure.... share them with your teams.
- “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” — Thomas Watson, Founder of IBM
- “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” — Miles Davis
- “99 percent of success is built on failure.” — Charles Kettering
- “I have not failed once. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” — Thomas Edison
- “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” — Charles Kettering
- “Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
- “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy
- “Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.” — Horace
- “When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to laugh at ourselves.” — Katherine Mansfield
- “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” — Henry Ford
- “No matter how well you perform, there’s always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it’s lousy.” — Sir Laurence Olivier
- “If your life is free of failures, you’re not taking enough risks.” — H. Jackson Brown
- “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” — Beverly Sills
- “I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison
- “Act as if it were impossible to fail.” — Dorothea Brande
- “Failure is success if we learn from it.” — Malcolm Forbes
- “You can only be as good as you dare to be bad.” — John Barrymore
- “The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” — Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Failure doesn’t mean that you’re a failure … it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” — Robert Schuller
- “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
- “Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.” — Napoleon Hill
- “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”– Mary Pickford
- “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” — Winston Churchill
- “We are not retreating — we are advancing in another direction.” — Douglas MacArthur
- “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” — Thomas A. Edison
- “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” — Japanese Proverb
- “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” — Confucius
- “Stumbling is not falling.” — Portuguese Proverb