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My thoughts on Failure: Why getting it wrong is really a sign you're getting it right.

· failure,resilience,Success

Failures, Screw-ups, muck-ups, *uck-ups. We all make them.

Yet if you skim through Facebook or Instagram you'll be greeted with filtered images depicting perfection and success. The shiny new Car. The promotion. The dinner which looks too good not to take a picture of, (I'm certainly guilty of this one).

We humans can't resist sharing our Successes and I'm all for celebrating our Wins in life. I'm just curious, what stops us from celebrating our Failures?

When I was 22, I returned to my Secondary School as a Staff member, working as a Learning mentor supporting children with learning difficulties. On my first day, I was sent to a year 8 maths lesson to support a class, accompanied by another learning mentor.

As you can imagine, it was a peculiar feeling stepping into a classroom I had once sat in as a student. Once I shook off the nostalgia, I got to work in getting to know the students I was there to support.

Butterflies were dancing in my stomach so I lingered at the back of the classroom, nervously sparking up a conversation with a boy and girl sat at a desk in the corner. After convincing the pair I really was a staff member, not a 6th former, I asked how they were finding the lesson.

''Meh, it's maths', was the response'. Somethings never change I thought to myself.

The Teacher gathered the classes' attention, heads turned towards him as he began to teach from the whiteboard at the front of the room. The Teacher reached a point where he invited the boys and girls to raise their hands and answer a question.

No response.

After a few moments, an arm in the center of the room, belonging to a girl, raised slowly with uncertainty. She whispered her answer, in a tone that sounded more like a question than an answer.

''Not quite, right'', muttered the teacher.

Silence.

I crouched down and whispered to the pair I'd spoken with before, to ask if they knew the answer. Of course, I can't remember what the answer or even the question were.

What I do remember is this. 

Both the boy and girl knew the correct answer. 

Once the teacher gave the class permission to carry on with their work, I crouched down again to the boy and girl and asked 'You both knew the answer, what stopped you from putting your hands up and answering Sir's questions'?

'I didn't want to get the wrong answer', the girl replied with her head to the floor.

During the time working at my Secondary School, I heard this line, time and time again from students of all ages and abilities. Over time, I had the privilege of encouraging such students to be brave and raise their hands to answer questions. I can not express adequately in words how incredible it feels to see a Child's confidence blossom as they give themselves to permission to fail, learn and grow.

Reflecting back on my 2016, there were plenty of failures. The two biggies that come to mind are:

  1. My (almost) first Speaking gig when I traveled to Luxembourg on a cold and rainy day to have no one attend the meet-up besides the group's organizer and a fellow Coach/Friend there to support me. The talk didn't go ahead.
  2. My first Webinar I ran live on the 30th December. I spent weeks preparing and practicing, only for the Webinar to end prematurely. A notification popped up on my screen to say I needed to 'upgrade to Pro' to host the Webinar for longer. Something I had overlooked completely.

Both times I was left red faced, feeling a cocktail of emotions ranging from embarrassment to anger to disappointment. But not for long.

As I express in the title, I believe getting it wrong is really a sign of getting it right.

Why?

If you're failing, you're in the Game!

You're playing. You've allowed yourself the opportunity for growth.

Chances are you're trying something new or you're practicing something you wish to become better at. Either way, you're learning.

And when you're learning- you're growing.

You could be sat on the sidelines, playing is safe.

I'll leave you with this...

How would life be different for you if you viewed your failures as the foundation on which you build your Successes on?

As always, I'd love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment or email me at will@orangeboxpd.com

With Love,

Will

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