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Get Uncomfortable, Make Mistakes, Fail

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

I hate making mistakes and failing. But if I don’t put myself in an uncomfortable position, I’m not learning. If I’m not learning, I’m not growing. Here are a few strategies to practice this week:

1. Success is not built on a bunch of successes – We’re taught to believe that the most successful people always succeeded. On the contrary. You have to fail to learn from mistakes and persevere. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Check out how Steve Jobs cites his mistakes as contributing to his overall success.

2. Lean into failure and learn from it – Ouch, it hurts! When you fail or make mistakes, try not to beat yourself up. Go to a good friend or a relative to get that pat on the back. Look back on the mistakes you’ve made and what you learned from them. Also note that the pain didn’t last all that long. Down in the dumps? Listen to How I Built This, where almost every single founder made a bunch of mistakes before they got to where they are today.

3. Encourage your colleagues to try something different – Encourage your teammates to try something new. And if they fail or make a mistake, help them through it and work the problem together. Some of my fondest memories in my career involved recovering from a huge mess, then celebrating with my teammates.

4. Learning and growth lead to long term success. In order to do that, you must get used to feeling uncomfortable. And guess what? Few people are really paying attention. This Spotlight Effect study found that people don’t pay nearly as much attention to us as we think they do.

This blog was inspired by author Neil Pasricha during this interview on Coaching With Leaders. He said, "Remember that the goal is not to be perfect, but to be a little bit better than before."

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