LeaderShift Project ArticlesFAIL means “First Attempt in Learning”. Image by @wanaktek via Twenty20.

In a recent study, MIT researchers Jon Kleinberg and Robock Inbar sought to find out if the fear of failure can influence our confidence. They revealed that the fear of failure is associated with lower confidence.

But here’s a surprising paradox: confidence is built through failing often. It’s crucial in fact, if you want to be more successful. Simply put, people who feel like they failed are more likely to try again, and in turn much more likely to be successful.

In this article, I’m going to explain 4 (well, really 3 types plus a faker) types of failure and their solutions.

1. “I f-ed up intentionally”

This is knowing better, and choosing differently. But I can’t call this failure. This is a CHOICE.

Whether that be doing something illegal, immoral, or something you just know you shouldn’t do. The solution here is to make the right choices going forward (if you haven’t been terminated yet!)

2. “I f-ed up unintentionally.”

This is when you’ve made an honest mistake.

These experiences are AWESOME. I can’t tell you how much you learn from them.

There’s not much you can do to prevent these unintentional screw-ups other than shift your perspective around them.

Instead of dreading these moments, CELEBRATE and LEARN from them!

3. “I was just careless…”

This might happen for a number of reasons:

  • You didn’t double check your work
  • You were moving too fast
  • You were burnt out and unable to do your best.

This is totally human and not something to be overly hard on yourself about. But what’s the solution?

First, pause and identify the root cause of your error. Sometimes, the cause is straightforward and thus a relatively simple fix, like setting aside more time to proofread or running it by a trusted colleague.

However, other times, the root cause may be traced to more systemic patterns in your life, and you would benefit from coaching or training to help shift your productivity or self-care habits, for example.

4. And finally, failure in the process of INNOVATING.

This is what I call “creative failure” and it’s the kind I encourage.

This might happen when you try something new, take a big risk, or go ALL in… and the outcome is uncertain.

This is HEALTHY and when failure should be EXPECTED, not avoided.

The more you fail…

  • The more you learn
  • The more you refine your path
  • The faster you get to where you want to go.

Stop avoiding failure, CELEBRATE it.

What type of failure do you experience most often?

1, 2, 3, or 4?

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