Everyday Life

Why aren’t we celebrating failure?

It’s no secret that failure is our greatest teacher. There is a whole industry of self-help books benefiting from this. Yet a fear of failure is unavoidable in our personal lives. Why are we prepared to fail in business, fail in sports, fail in so many things, but not our Christianity and womanhood. How will we ever make a comeback if we never fail?

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Thomas Friedman recently described the “can-do” culture of Silicon Valley as the following: a place where there are no limits on your imagination and failure in the service of experimentation is a virtue.”

In Silicon Valley (and other startup ecosystems) it’s not necessarily frowned upon to create companies and then run them into the ground. In fact, many founders of failed companies find it easier to raise money for their second company. Investors know they are buying experience and the lessons learned from those failed endeavors. We should take what we can from this approach, and adapt our mindset to a new mentality:

Celebrate failure in a public way.

Have you ever felt relieved when a friend or someone you look up to, admitted to a mistake, or some type of failure? Have you thought: “Wow, if SHE feels like that, then maybe I can as well?” Or maybe you just wished she admitted this earlier, while you were going through something.  Women need to know they are not the only ones making mistakes and screwing up – all your friends are doing it too– and it’s fine!

Honestly, admit your failures to those around you – it will set a new tone for all your future conversations. Making it easier for everyone to handle what life throws at them.

Cultivate a culture of experimentation. 

Instead of thinking, “I did it the wrong way”, just think, “I have to find another way — this doesn’t work.” Teach yourself to take that leap of faith, even if it’s doomed. Failure should never be the reason why we don’t do new or challenging things. If something doesn’t yield your expected results – you still learned something, and that knowledge is invaluable. If you don’t expect yourself to grow and learn, you fall into the bad habit of doing only things you know will succeed — and that is a recipe for being uninspiring and burning out! You might have some small victories, but you will never see the exponential improvement that goes with failure (and learning).

Psalm 119:71 It was good for me to be so aflficted, that I could learn your statuses

Figure out the next steps.

Our instinct tells us to minimize mistakes or to sweep them under the rug. But, without examining what went wrong, we can’t learn anything.  Investigate your failure to understand what the next steps are. Make actionable decisions; change your behavior, mindset or strategy.

No one likes to fail – it diminishes our enthusiasm, affects our self-worth and hurts our pride. If you can change what you take away from your failure, it is already a new success story.

(Jeremiah 8:4) Jeremiah, say this to the people of Judah: This is what the Lord says: You know if a man/woman falls down, he/she gets up again. And if a man/woman goes the wrong way, he/she turns around and comes back.

Please tell me how you handle failure in the comments below!

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