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Can we talk about - the F word?

Failure.


Fear of it, experiencing it and learning from it, is something new managers and leaders need to deal with quickly, if they are to be successful, and even more importantly, enjoy their new role.


You have probably heard the following phrases championing failure.


Failing is a good thing

Failing means you’re trying

Failing is the first step to succeeding


This is all well and good, but to truly embrace failures as growth opportunities is not easy to do, especially when almost all our upbringing and careers have rewarded getting things right.



Mindset is the start point, but mindset without action is just wishful thinking. When you make a mistake or when something doesn’t go your way, try to resist wasting precious energy beating yourself up or blaming others. Instead, direct your energies at answering these simple questions:


What do I need to do, so that in x weeks / months / years’ time I can say that this failure was the best thing that ever happened to me?


What knowledge do I need to gain so that the pay off in the future is greater than this is costing me now?


What have I learnt already from this situation that can be helpful in the future?


What strength do I need to develop to be able to handle this challenge so it won’t be a problem anymore?


What other aspects of my work or life would be positively impacted if I learnt this new thing or developed this strength?


The biggest professional ‘failure’ I had to face was losing my job when my youngest was 8 weeks old. I can now look back and say that in a somewhat chaotic and elongated way I went through the above process and now I am a qualified coach doing a job I love, supporting new leaders and managers. If I hadn’t been made redundant, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.


What I have learnt from going through this process myself is that failing is not good or bad, it just is. But how we respond to the failure can (if we do the work) always yield unexpected benefits, ideas and new opportunities that we would not have thought to do, if it wasn’t for the failure.


Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope these ideas help people new into their management and leadership roles (and those on the pathway), to do something good with the inevitable mistakes that as humans we have all made and will all continue to make.


If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share in your network, and tell me what resonated, as it helps me write more relevant content. If you’ve turned a failure into a future success then please share, as I know it will inspire others.


DM me / contact me on zoe@youburnbright.com if you want to chat or introduce me to your head of people to find out more about how I coach 1st-time leaders and managers at agencies to hit the ground running.


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