You’ve started a company and it goes belly-up. Or you launched a new product and not only does it fail to sell, customers actually hate it. Or you get fired.
What happens when you dare to dream, make that dream real, and then fail?
There’s the plucky Henry Ford quotation which admittedly, and almost embarrassingly, I have used: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Since Ford was eventually wildly successful, this aphorism does reassure, but it also jauntily skips over the emotional precipice on which we teeter when we fail. No matter how many chirpy quotes I may tweet out, when I fail my initial response is despondency, pessimism, and the feeling that perhaps I need to relocate to another city because I can never show my face in public. Ever. Again. I tend to identify with Margery Eldredge Howell, who said: “There’s dignity in suffering, nobility in pain, but failure is a salted wound that burns and burns again.”
As I have grappled with my own this-just-may-break-me failures, I am increasingly convinced that dreaming must be a process, an engine of experimentation. As we practice innovating we are propelled up a personal learning curve — and we begin to accomplish our dreams. But implicit in daring to disrupt the status quo is daring to fail. As we learn by doing and do by learning something will eventually (and inevitably) not work. As former DARPA official Ken Gabriel said, “An important part of disruption is having the nerve to take on a really big failure.”
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By Whitney Johnson
At Creative Sage™, we often coach and mentor individual clients, as well as work teams, in the areas of change management, making personal, career or organizational transitions, and facilitating collaboration capabilities. We guide and mentor executives, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals to help them more effectively implement transition processes, and to become more resilient in adjusting to rapid changes in the workplace — including learning effective coping techniques for handling failure, as well as success.
We work with on-site and virtual teams. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. You can also call us at 1-510-845-5510 in San Francisco / the Silicon Valley. Let’s talk! An initial exploratory phone conversation is free. When you talk with me, I promise that I’ll always LISTEN to you with open ears, mind and heart, to help you clarify your own unique path to a higher vista of success.
~Cathryn Hrudicka, Founder, CEO and Chief Imagination Officer of Creative Sage™, Executive Coach and Mentor.