Why you can’t lead without failing
We live in a world that is obsessed with success. Since childhood we are taught to pass with flying colors, get admission to reputed colleges and do what everyone else is doing.
How often someone tells you to fail first and then succeed? Not really, right? I can speak for myself and say that I was never taught to fail or at least told it’s acceptable to fail in life. I think failure is a necessary experience if you want to be successful. In the moment, it can be devastating depending on the severity of the failure. However, if we see it with the right perspective, it can be both enlightening and motivating.
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As an entrepreneur, failure opened the most rewarding opportunities and lessons in my career. Whether it was the decisions I made, employees I hired, investments I made, or the one’s I didn’t — each experience gave me some insights about leadership. And, I learned failure is not the opposite of success; it’s the part of success. Let me tell you how:
Persistence is Your Greatest Quality
Abraham Lincoln failed, so did Thomas Edison. We all fail. It is inevitable to escape failure. You won’t always succeed at whatever you put your hands at. And, if you think that way and are operating with that mindset, I’m sorry to say but you’ll be left disappointed very soon.
You will fail at one point or the other in your life. But you can’t let few stumbles and roadblocks stop you. Learn to take on any of the life’s challenges through the discomfort and uncertainty of failure. Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising every time we fail.
There’s Always a Room For Improvement
No matter how prepared you are or how well you know your craft, failure can strike you anytime. Let me share an anecdote with you, when I shared my idea of ProofHub — a management software — with some management experts, they pointed out at several things why it won’t work. I won’t lie, it wasn’t pleasing to hear such remarks about something you’ve put your heart and soul into but I chose to view this setback differently.
I took the feedback and worked on it and understood that there’s always a room for improvement. Without any intention to sound like a braggart, companies like NASA, Disney, and Netflix found ProofHub useful to tackle their management woes. A leader can be anything but inflexible because flexibility in a time of great change is a vital quality of leadership.
The Hottest Fire Makes the Hardest Steel
There is a lesson to be learned from everything — including failure. Perhaps, two greatest takeaways that I learned from failure are strength and character. Failure teaches us more about life and builds character than success ever could. For example, Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player in the history, failed to qualify for his high school basketball team. When asked about his early failures, Jordan said, “I’ve succeeded in life because I failed over and over again in my life.”
Along with this, failure teaches you the greatest virtue of all times — HUMILITY. And, a humble man is not afraid of failure. Since perfect humility implies in the confidence in one’s abilities, that’s when you become ready for true leadership.
Confronting Your Failure Makes You Courageous
You know what I’ve experienced so far with my encounters with failure — with every setback I’ve emerged stronger and more courageous. We spend most of our life running away from failure and once it hits us hard, we are standing there — naked — without anything to lose. Once we get the taste of our first big failure, we aren’t intimidated or scared by it anymore. Instead, we start exploring that space and approach setbacks with more bravery.
Confronting your failure rewards us with a sense of freedom and liberation. Someone said it right, “If necessity is the mother of invention, failure is the father.” Nothing spawns creativity like failure. And to be a leader you need to be both — courageous and creative.
Second Chances are All Around You
There’s nothing wrong with failing but not trying something just because of the fear of failure is definitely wrong. It’s just a bruise, not a tattoo that will haunt you for years. I have always found that failure allows you to see opportunities with broader observation. Life is all about second chances and it’s called tomorrow.
It isn’t about beating yourself for not succeeding but is more about embracing failure and moving on. A thought process like this allows you to see opportunities with broader observation — thus widening your field of opportunity.
Leaders aren’t just born, they are made — with failures. They are made with perseverance, innate desire to grow, character and most importantly, the courage to fail — one more time. That’s how failure makes you a leader!
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Originally published at LinkedIn.com.
Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. A passionate leader, Sandeep is always on the lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams and companies. He is also a featured writer on LinkedIn and a contributing author at YourStory. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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