•   Allison

Most people are afraid of failure… including those of us who claim we embrace it. This is particularly true in the workplace. No one wants to be a disappointment. And what’s worse than wasting someone’s time and money? So it’s pretty natural to feel that failure is what we call “the absolute worst.”

Well, it’s not. In fact, we owe most if not all real progress to mistakes. Mistakes and failures expose voids and new opportunities. Of course that doesn’t make failure an attractive idea to most people. Maybe you’re still too afraid to fail. If you’re one of those people, this one’s for you.

LIST: Why Your New Year’s Resolution Should Be to Screw Up

  • It’s Unavoidable – For starters… no one’s perfect. You’re going to muck something up at some point. At least when you try something new, you know to look at things afterward and ask yourself “what did I muck up?” Basically, it’s going to happen – it’s better for you to accept it, look for it, and embrace it when it does happen.
  • It’s Liberating – When you’re not afraid of failure it allows you much more freedom to try new things. And this is how we grow. Liberating your employee’s from their fear of failure can help move the company forward. Employees frozen with are less productive, and create a stagnant culture with crippling long-term effects.
  • It Builds Confidence – Ok, this mayyy be hard to believe at first. But when you learn how to fail (we’ll come back to this!) and become comfortable failing, you’ll find yourself contributing more ideas and becoming more willing to step outside your comfort zone. And you’ll have the courage to fight (professionally) for the ideas you really believe in. Sure, it’s possible for you to build this sort of confidence by trying something safe that you know you’ll succeed in. But take it from us… it’ll happen a whole lot faster if you’re willing to let yourself fail.
  • It Builds Stronger Ideas – Failure is often a necessary evil in the creative process. But there’s one critical condition to this statement. You MUST learn something from your failure. Don’t just walk away… ask yourself why did I fail? What just happened? Failing doesn’t always mean you need to come up with an entirely new idea. Think about it. Are you really going to let yourself fail in the same way twice? I certainly hope not. And when you get back up and do it again, you’ll go about it with more knowledge, and your next breakthrough will be a bigger breakthrough.
  • It Improves Resilience & Recovery Time – When you decide to accept your failure and use it to your benefit, you build resilience. For “beginners” this can be difficult, but you must remember that by hanging your head after something doesn’t go according to plan, you’re letting the lesson pass you by. Keep your head up, your eyes open, and look ahead. This will become more natural to you quicker than you might think. And developing this element of your character can translate into other areas of your life in big and beneficial ways.
  • It Builds A Bond – Letting your teammates know that you’re okay with failing, and you’re okay with them failing, establishes  trust. Let each other know that if things don’t go as planned, it’s not the end of the world, and that you’ll not only sort it out together… you will ultimately arrive at something great together.


About Author

Allison Benson O' Brien

Director of Communications at 14 West

“Ask “why?” when told “no.” Always learn something. And stand behind the ideas you believe in.”

My job allows me a lot of creative freedom. And that can be a lot of fun, but there’s also some self-inflicted pressure that comes along with the role. Fortunately my team includes a some brilliant people and a few clowns; so we not only get the job done – we laugh every day. And I think our work is stronger because of that. We take the positivity, the humor and the passion we have in our office and find a way to share it with the workplaces we support. Whether it’s through an event, a marketing piece, a partnership, a post… even a piece of swag. And it works.
My team and I have watched the companies we support go on to become recognized as top workplaces by their communities and local media. It feels good to know that this is in part due to our efforts.

What is your favorite company event of the year? Hands down… decorating day. We pull the holiday decorations out of the basement, get together after work with some pizza, wine and music, and decorate the gorgeous 19th Century mansion we work in. A dream for a Christmas geek like myself.

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