Learning from failure. Creating a culture of failure. Success through failure. There are a multitude of phrases that tell me that failure is good for us, so why do we all resist failure? Failure is painful. Failure can bring feelings of shame, not good enough, that I’m a failure rather than my actions or project failed.
As a manager, entrepreneur, team leader, people leader you’re going to fail and face adversity if you’re “all in” and success is all about getting up more times than you fall down. Getting up can look easy, you just have to stand up right? Yet when it comes to failure getting up stronger than you were when you fall down requires a process.
With economic uncertainty, leaders in my city are laying off staff over the past several months and will continue to do so for many weeks or months into the future. Those leaders and the team members they’re laying off will be feeling hurt, failure, and mistakes. They may question their decisions that led to having to downsize at this time. Were they to blame? Was it the economy or could they have taken steps to be proactive and manage the business differently? I don’t know and I’m not sure we can’t really know where they’d be at today if they had made different decisions. The fact is, they’re laying off and it hurts everyone.
Dr. Brené Brown shares with us in her new book, Rising Strong, a process for navigating everyday falls, hurts and mistakes. Her goal is to help us rise from our falls, overcome mistakes and face hurt in ways that bring more wisdom, awareness and wholeheartedness to our lives and those we lead.
Step 1: The Reckoning: Recognize emotion, and get curious about your feelings and how they connect with how you think and behave.
Step 2: Get honest about the stories you make up about your struggle, then challenge the story and assumptions to determine the truth, what’s self-protection and what needs to change if you want to lead more wholeheartedly.
This middle is messy. Its the part you want to skip. I assure you that you can’t skip the middle. This is where the magic happens. Unless you stick with the middle mess and process what is there for you, you’ll repeat the same scene over and over again in life and leadership until you receive the learning and gifts that life has for you in the experience. As my husband says, “You only learn when you burn.”
Step 3: The Revolution: Here is where you write a new ending to your story based on the learnings you’ve unearthed in your rumble. Use this new, braver story to change how you engage with the world and transform the way you live and lead.
Now doesn’t that sound like a clean easy process with a nice tidy bow? Sure does and I assure you that its nothing easy and brings up the things about ourselves we like to ignore and pretend about. To truly rise up stronger from failure, hurt or mistakes you must take a deep look at what you’d rather ignore.
When you hide from your stories, they’ll define you. Write your own ending and you’ll find your way. You’re worth the work.
To learn more about getting back up, check out Brené Brown’s new book Rising Strong and reach out to me to learn about my leadership keynotes, retreats and workshops that bring this wisdom and learning into an experiential learning environment focused on helping you own your story, dare greatly and rise strong.