It’s National Failures Day…Tomorrow!
Or anyway, the internet says so. Failure gets a bad rap, but there’s more there than what we’re expecting, I think. Let’s unpack failure.
Failure’s about not meeting expectations. When expectations are always met, nothing moves forward. We become non-critical, we miss opportunities, and we offer less to others. “It’s all about the creative possibility within each of us that we don’t partake in. We don’t jump into the murky water, the creativity water.” Risks go untaken, things that ain’t broke don’t get fixed, “good enough” becomes good enough.
Each time expectations are not met, we encounter new choices and opportunities. We need to fail sometimes – to reevaluate proprieties and expectations. When we fail, we become problem-solvers, self-assessers. We get to make critical use of our decision-making, communication, and team-building skills.
But. That is not to say that self-assessment – that reevaluation and correction – should happen only in the wake of failure. Successes – however small – drive us. Accomplishments, rewards, and good feelings about ourselves and others release dopamine in our brains. It’s what makes us want to carry on with hope for, and expectation of, more good things. It solidifies retention of learned behaviors that get us where we want to be.
In the interest of fostering drive, and opening a critical eye, success can be manufactured. Feasible tasks can be set out, and set up for conquering – reinforcing positive, productive behaviors and pointing to a desired methodology.
The performance of these tasks can be reviewed in the context of overall performance. The tasks’ success can be positioned as perfunctory success, and the behaviors used to achieve it can define a base for more risky, difficult, or creative undertakings – which may result in failure.
And all of this is to say that while success may not really mean anything, it means a lot to all of us. So how do we embrace failure when we’re jonesing for success? We standardize. No, really!
By establishing a standard of critical evaluation and self-assessment on an every-day, every-task basis, we see that there are both successes and failures in everything we do. By understanding that nothing is complete – only in the process of getting better – we more readily accept that expectations are not necessarily goals. That we can only exceed expectations if we aren’t so very concerned with meeting them.
Sometimes, a culture of learning can be so much more productive, and ultimately more successful, than a culture of succeeding. Experiential learning can be your organization’s key to embracing failure – to creative productivity. The Reproducible Training Library is a comprehensive set of 75 research-based, customizable employee training programs that will be your guide to constant improvement.