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Failure is our best instructor

Failure is often our best instructor. And yet we live in fear of it.

We do everything we can to avoid it, prevent it, hide it.

And yet, I imagine all of us can think of THE failure in our lives that returned the greatest gift.

For me, it was walking away from a new, prestigious job four months in. It felt like such a failure to admit to the burnout I was feeling, to leave so soon after joining.

And when I did, I learned that:

→ There’s more to my identity than my job

→ My family and friends will be here to cheer me on, through thick and thin

→ With creativity, I can design a career to fit into my life, not the other way around

I’ve removed the fear out of the failure equation by talking about past failure openly with friends, colleagues and family. When we bury failure, our shame multiplies. I’m learning that when we talk about failure, we reclaim power over it.

Adam Grant removes the sting of failure by setting a “failure quotient” for himself, recognizing that if he’s not failing with some frequency, he’s not stretching himself enough.

A friend of mine does a celebratory dance with his daughter every time she fails, cheering her on for trying something new, something hard.

Instead of fearing failure, let’s learn from it, talk about it, celebrate the growth that comes from it.

How are you removing the sting from failure these days?

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