The Power of Learning How to Celebrate Failure
At TARRA, January is our month to celebrate failure.
Why failure? Because it’s one of the most uniquely human experiences that binds us together. It makes us stronger, more resilient, more intelligent creatures. If we didn’t fail, we would never learn and thus we would never grow.
Failure is one of my favorite topics. I spent years living in a constant state of striving for perfection only to find that the only outcome was anxiety, squashed imagination, and fear of more failure.
Once I learned to reframe “failure” as “trying” or “learning” I was released into a new world of possibility. Of course, I’m making that process sound easier than it actually is. I don’t want to be trite about the serious pain and ego-crushing nature of failure, but it is important to normalize that life is simply a series of learning from our failures.
Failure is an Imperfect Word
Brene Brown once said that “failure is an imperfect word,” because if you take time and have the patience to learn from your failures they aren’t actually failures any longer–they are lessons.
Collectively and individually, I challenge you this month to redefine and reframe, your mishaps, your “missed opportunities”, your losses, your f*ck ups, and your why-did-I-do-that’s and turn them into the following phrases.
- Wow I learned something new about myself
- That was hard, but I got through it and am a better leader today
- That didn’t work. How can I change my approach next time?
- I’m human
- That was interesting. I wonder how I can do it better next time?
- That option is no longer on the table. Now I can put my energy into something new with more knowledge about what not to do
If the last two years taught us anything, it’s that failure is completely subjective. What was considered a fail in 2019 (failed businesses, failed relationships, failure to be perfect) has become normalized…it’s just “what happens now.”
So, back to this idea of celebrating failure. Where do you start? Think about the first time you learned how to ride a bicycle or ski. Remember how many times you had to fall down before you finally were able to make your way down the road or the mountain?
If you pull back and look at life from that perspective and normalize that it is really just a repeat of learning from failure every day of the week, the prospect becomes so much less intense. In fact, it can become something you welcome into your life.
The best leaders understand that innovation and creativity require failure. If you are willing to take risks, push boundaries and grow, it takes courage to face the inevitable—you will fail.
As you stare down the path that the new year has laid before you, consider reframing your relationship with success and failure. Create space for the learning, and growth that comes from falling down and getting back up. TARRA is here to support you on your path. We are your community and resource to catch you when you fall and give you the confidence to get back up and keep going.
I look forward to seeing all of the wonderful fails that happen in the TARRA community this year. Please share your wins, your losses, your frustrations, and your exciting announcements with us. We are here to celebrate all of you.
As well, thank you for being on this wild roller coaster ride of life with me. I am so grateful for this community and can’t wait to open our doors to the TARRA Campus in just a few short months.
Let’s fail together,
Kate Bailey, Founder