How can you use your failures to propel you forward, both at work and in your personal life? Here are a few ideas:
1. Draw lessons from mistakes.
Let failures invigorate you with the knowledge that, once you know what you did wrong, you can now start doing it right. You’re halfway there. Errors will not only inform your future choices, but they’ll also keep you grounded and remind you that there’s always room to improve.
2. Keep a physical reminder of past failures.
While it’s easy to tuck away reminders of mistakes made, it’s more beneficial to keep them in plain sight. Keep products from failed ventures in your office. For example, one specific product didn’t do well because you tried to expand the line too quickly.
3. Talk to yourself.
When you’re experiencing failure, it might seem like you don’t have time to reflect on what went wrong and why. This, however, is the most important time to constructively criticize yourself. Ask yourself tough questions like: What went wrong? What lessons can I draw from those failures? Can I think more creatively about what’s possible? While it won’t be easy (and at times it might be painful), you’ll be glad you made time for real time introspection.
4. Look for failures in unlikely places.
When things are going well, it’s easy to think that you’re doing everything right, but that’s not always the case. It might just be that your success is hiding a weakness or deficiency, which will later reveal itself. That’s why it’s important to be attuned to your mistakes, and actively look for areas of improvement as you go.
5. Encourage those around you to share their mistakes.
You may try to encourage your team to share their mistakes. Rather than hide their mistakes so as to appear invincible, team members are encouraged to publicly acknowledge and learn from them. This approach to open communication can be applied outside the workplace as well. We can all do a better job of voicing our shortcomings and helping our friends and family feel comfortable doing the same.