There is a story about an executive who saw an opportunity to launch a new product line–something he invested millions of dollars of the company’s money in. But the product line proved to be a flop, and he lost the company a great deal of money. He got called into the CEO’s office expecting to get fired, and when he asked the CEO if that was case the CEO responded with “I just spent millions of dollars training you, why would I fire you now?”
How someone handles failure is just as important as how they handle favorable outcomes. No one is guaranteed success 100% of the time. Often, successes come from failures. When something doesn’t work out in my favor I try not to dwell on the sting of the loss, but reflect on what I learned. This way everything is a victory. If I win, great! But if I don’t get what I worked for, I look for the lesson and apply that to my next attempt.
Cultivating this mentality towards failure is not easy. Let’s face it, no one likes to lose; maybe that is because most people view losing as the opposite of winning. But failure is one of our best opportunities for growth. Without failure we would be less likely to develop compassion and empathy. We may stop taking risks because we never learned that failure isn’t fatal. I choose to view any failure as part of the winning process: if I learn from it, I never actually lose.
“I never lose, I either win or I learn.” –Nelson Mandela
Have a great weekend,