Advice from the EMProfessor

Fail your way to success

Plan to make failure part of your success strategy

Failure may be the most powerful tool we have in our arsenal to be successful in our careers, yet very few people know how to wield it.

This is especially true of we want to do something that is truly extraordinary. Albert Einstein said, “I think that only daring speculation can lead us further and not accumulation of facts.”

Regardless of how smart we are, our intelligence has a limit. Yet, it is possible for us to achieve great things well beyond those limits if we are willing to make wild guesses.

The thought of failure is a very uncomfortable one for most people because they are worried about how they will look to their bosses and peers. But this is great news because it limits this competition dramatically. If failure is not managed correctly, it can hurt your reputation and your career. It can make you appear reckless and wasteful.

The most successful people admit their limitations and have an honest and a good sense of humor about their guesswork. Plan your work so that if you think an idea is might fail, it fails as soon as possible and with the least amount of investment as possible. Successful people not only learn from their failures, but often discover things that take them in new directions. Learn to “Fail fast and fail forward” 

The only bad failure is when we fail because we simply did not try or when we refuse to learn from the experience. Make failure a critical part of your career strategy.