The Value of Failure

One of our natural instincts is to avoid mistakes and pain. It’s deeply wired into our DNA and what our ancestors required in order to survive.

In the world we live in today, while there are still really dangerous things that can deeply hurt us, we can get too worried about trying to avoid mistakes. As a result, we slow ourselves down and limit our learning experiences.

Becoming masterful and competent in our careers often means learning how to avoid making the same mistakes. But, as we train the next generation of technicians and leaders, we often forget about the value of failure and the learning it can offer us.

We want to have them to have a better and easier growth path by helping them to avoid making mistakes, in the first place. Sometimes, we create just the opposite – which I talk about in this recent blog – slowing their learning and making them more risk adverse.

In fact, as leaders and parents, our job is to help the next generation find ways to experience and learn from mistakes – and to understand the value of failure.

I love the story in this recent article about a teacher who gives each student a bag of 1,000 beads. Each time they make a mistake, they take out one bead and achieve mastery only when the bag is empty. The faster they make mistakes, the faster they progress.

Making a mistake becomes an achievement to celebrate.

Hopefully, by accelerating the pace at which people make many little mistakes, they’ll achieve the wisdom to avoid big ones in the future.

The Challenge

  • What can you do to increase your own mistake rate in a healthy range of accelerated learning?
  • Where are you playing too safe and too slow?
  • How can you accelerate the growth of the people around you as they progress towards mastery?

About Kevin:

CEOs typically place their first call to Coach Kevin with a crisis to solve. They stay because of his business acumen and no-holds-barred, tell-it-like-it-is style.

Kevin’s career spans 20 years, over a dozen countries and four continents. He’s worked with hundreds of CEOs and executives, helping them to break through business challenges, grow their companies and find personal success along the way.

These experiences inspired Kevin’s book, Your Oxygen Mask First, in which he reveals the 17 habits every leader must know to transcend the perils of success, and achieve even more.

About Lawrence & Co:

Lawrence & Co’s work focuses on sustainable and enhanced growth for you and your business. Our diverse and experienced group of advisors can help your leaders and executive teams stay competitive through the use of various learning tools including workshops, webinars, executive retreats, or one-to-one coaching.

We help high-achieving leaders to have it all – a great business and a rewarding life. Contact us for simple and impactful advice. No BS. No fluff.