Failure: The Best Way to Learn & Grow


A Hard Pill to Swallow

As a recovering perfectionist and people pleaser, the mere thought of not doing something well makes we squirm. Truly, I do want to grow and learn but I’d prefer to do it in a less painful way than failing.

Interestingly, I've found that the mistakes I've made and my various failing this year have taught me astronomically more that if I had done the task right the first time.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, failing and making mistakes, it really sucks.

But the learning that is accomplished through mistakes and failure affords us the privilege of bettering ourselves by sharpening our minds and refining our skills.

The Common Denominator

Can you think of a person who is successful, smart, and skilled in an area that you desire to be?

There’s a common denominator between all people who are talented, remarkable, and excellent in their work. They have had gigantic failures and have a track record filled with mistakes.

Seriously though.

For every one thing they did right, they probably did five things wrong.

It's easy to focus on the ways others have been successful in areas we desire to also be successful and think they knew some magic trick or got a lucky break.  But for people who have become professionals in their field and those who are incredibly skilled and knowledgeable in a certain area, it's harder to see what went on behind the scenes that got them to where they are today

What we don’t see as readily is the road filled with mistakes and failure that paved the way to learning, growth, and excellence.

This season in my work has been quite challenging to say the least, I thought I was a pretty good nurse but I have made more mistakes in my current job than I ever have (even as a new grad!). This learning curve has been incredibly steep and every day I go into work knowing, realistically, I will make mistakes in one way or another that day. It’s disheartening a lot of days because I just want to be good at what I’m doing! Anyone else feel like that sometimes?

You Won’t Grow If You Blame

In previous times of failure, I’ve always looked for whom to blame. I usually blamed my boss or someone who had trained me. In times when it was apparent that the blame could not fall on another, I would take it upon myself and beat myself up over the mistake, which only resulted in a negative downward cycle.

When mistakes have been made and our response is to blame and point fingers, it creates an environment of fear and anxiety versus one of growth and learning.

We all have those scenes in our minds that we cringe when we think back on, when we did that thing or made a mistake that was particularly difficult to recover from.  But when we focus on what we learned and gained from the mistake, it’s a huge mark of growth.

Reading texts books will inform you but mistake making will teach you.

Though quite humbling, mistakes and failures shouldn’t be shameful because they can serve as a  gauge to indicate areas that you have room for learning and growth in.Those who are willing to own their mistakes and admit their failures are the ones who will learn exponentially more.

Since I can’t do it perfectly (and no one can), I am aiming to learn rather than blame when I mess up and what I'm finding is that mistakes and failure lose of lot of their hard punch.

Ultimately, embracing the learning that happens through mistakes is what enables us to grow.