Learning to fail
March 14, 2016
The concept of failure in itself would appear a strange thing to praise in most SMEs. Why would such an idea of getting things wrong be a positive part of your business journey?
The answer I feel lies in the methodology of ‘positive failure’. From an early age, the idea of winning seems to be an important factor in success; other than the old adage of ‘it’s the taking part that counts’, we are never truly educated on the positive impact of messing up, picking up the pieces and starting again.
Failure is embedded into society as a fundamental negative, whereas it should be an integral part of the learning process. Failure is not a negative, it can be a positive tool for personal and professional development and a key driver for success, if we take time to learn from our mistakes and take steps to embrace our vulnerability and human nature to overcome challenges of the past.
Historically, failure is part of the fabric of our economic evolution more than we realise; take Richard Branson for example. Most would assume that as one of the wealthiest (and most recognised entrepreneurs the world over) that Branson is immune to the ideal of failure, quite the opposite is true however, having struggled with Dyslexia at school and leaving at the age of 16 where his Headmaster told him that he would either end up in prison or a millionaire. Branson moved forward with a single-minded determination to succeed, which of course he did, however on the way to his unchartered success, Richard Branson has seen over 12 of his business ventures fail, some substantially. The key to his success however is that with a determination to learn and develop from his mistakes and wholeheartedly embrace them, Branson became the success we know of today:
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again.” Richard Branson
The concept of ‘Positive failure’ can of course appear like a contradiction in terms, but the worst and unfortunately most common thing that businesses do is avoid the subject entirely; when we avoid the subject of failure, whether it feels like the biggest mistake in the world or a small blip on our economic landscapes, we deny the opportunity to reflect, and ultimately discover what we have learnt from those mistakes.
Take inspiration from Michael Jordan, J.K Rowling, Steve Jobs or Abraham Lincoln for that matter; individuals who have experienced great achievement both past and present, but who first experiences great failure, embraced that it was part of an ongoing learning process and carried on.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
At nxo, true to our founding values of collaboration and cooperation- we understand personally that the road to success isn’t going to be a straight one, nor will it be without bumps in the road; however we can help facilitate growth and enable you to overcome barriers that may stand in your way.
if you would like to see if our insight and expertise can help your business to grow, whatever the financial weather might bring.