Failure is NOT a Bad Word!
Failure is a word that is wrapped up with so many negative connotations. We grow up being told that failure is the WORST thing possible. You “FAILED” your class! You are nothing but a “FAILURE”! You “FAILED” me! Growing up with these descriptions being ingrained into our DNA, there is no wonder why we run from failure and stay as far away from it as possible.
Unfortunately, our fear of failure actually creates the very thing that we are trying to avoid. We “FAIL” to become what we could because we don’t let “FAILURE” stretch us towards our potential. Here is what you must understand… You will make mistakes but you cannot let them turn into regrets because the reality is they are actually possibilities.
Our mistakes are just opportunities for us to learn from the past and confidently step into the next phase of our journey with more knowledge of where we are going.
Our mistakes also stretch us beyond our comfort zones. Brad Lomenick said it best in his book H3 Leadership, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Choose courage over comfort.” We never truly reach our potential as individuals and as an organization unless we are willing to get out of our own heads, face our fears, and courageously try new things.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to champion this type of thinking and encourage our team to step out of the box and try new things. What is the worst that can happen? Really? You may take a few step backs, but that is just giving you a running start!
My biggest fear is that I will let my success of today be my demise of tomorrow because I let the comfort of familiarity hold me back from moving forward. Now I don’t mean that you should change everything, but I do believe as a team you need to ask yourselves a few honest questions.
1. What is not working?
What is not working in your organization, your church, or simply your life? What is taking up a lot of time, yet you are not really seeing the fruit of the investment? What feels stale or old? What are you just not excited about? Or what is a major hole or opportunity you are missing? Be completely honest and allow that from your team.
2. What is something I want to try, but I am nervous about it?
What is an idea you have been mulling around that you want to step out in faith to do, but for some reason or another you won’t pull the trigger? Maybe it’s a teaching element in your services, starting a blog, making a financial decision, creating a marriage initiative, restructuring some systems or programs, adding another campus, or filming a video series. Maybe you are considering adding a staff member, going back to school, or starting a new business. As a leader, we must be thinking of what’s next and sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone even when we feel nervous. Now, I am not saying to blindly pull the trigger and hope for the best, but I am saying that staying put and never moving forward eventually leads to a declining organization!
3. Who are you empowering?
Are you giving your team the authority and the confidence that they can run their departments successfully or are you micromanaging and hovering over your team? When someone is always watching you and waiting for you to fail, it demoralizes you and you will always live up to those expectations. The same is true in our families in regards to our spouses or children. However, when people give you their support and they express how much they believe in you, it builds confidence and resolve that is priceless. I tell my team all the time to take a risk and go for it because what is the worst that can happen? Maybe we fail, but in that, we learn from our mistakes and we lead our teams through it. Leaders take problems and turn them into solutions and when you express that kind of support in your people, they will always rise above the challenge!
Failure is not a bad word and stretching yourself is the only way to grow. To start growing, start learning and realize failure is just a step in the right direction when you have the right mindset!