Resolve to fail more?
Hey, Joe, have you been hitting the New Year’s champagne a little too hard?
Nope. I mean it.
In all sobriety.
In reflecting on 2017, I don’t think I’ve pushed myself hard enough. I don’t think I’ve taken enough risk. I don’t think I’ve aimed as high as I might have.
I’m with Henry Thoreau:
“In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”
But pushing hard, taking risk and aiming high means accepting the possibility of failure – and recognizing its importance.
I’m with J.K Rowling:
“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.”*
Here are the four main reasons I resolve to fail more in 2018.
- If we’re not failing, we’re not taking enough risk. Without enough risk appetite, we grow satisfied with the status quo, complacent and willing to settle for less than we might achieve. I’m with Teddy Roosevelt:
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
- If we’re are not failing, we’re not learning. Failure is a great teacher – maybe the best there is.* Indeed, failure is only final if we don’t learn from it. I’m with Henry Ford:
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
- If we’re not failing, we’re not sure who our true followers are. It’s far easier to lead when the weather is fair than when the weather is foul. Our true followers – and friends – become apparent when we fail. I’m with Oprah Winfrey:
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
- If we’re not failing, we’re not humble. Humility is a cardinal virtue of servant-leaders in the workplace. Servant-leaders admit when they are wrong. They don’t deny it when they fail – as they all do.** I’m with Shah Rukh Khan:
“Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble.”
Are you with me?
What do you think – does all this seem like a product of too much champagne?
Let us know.
As always, we appreciate your views.
Happy New Year!
And don’t forget to download our latest ebook, Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction. It’s free!
* Enjoy this one: “Leadership and Learning (from Failure)”
** On humility and admitting mistakes: