Take a moment to think about the social media you follow. People regularly post… “Had a great meeting today” or My family had a wonderful time in Italy” and there is always a photo of two people hugging with big smiles. Over and over we read about the successes. Now imagine reading….“My 10am meeting was a disaster and I totally froze during my presentation” or “My brothers and I got in a huge disagreement that turned into a screaming match” … “Our vacation to Italy didn’t happen, I failed to book the airline ticket”. What?… Tell someone about a failure?
Jennifer Martineau and Portia Mount, authors of Kick Some Glass, encourage us to name our “glorious failures”. They encourage us to look failure in the eye and use it as a tool for stretching ourselves towards greater success. Martineau and Mount facilitate a “glorious failure” discussion at a Center for Creative Leadership women’s leadership workshop. They “encourage women to experiment with new behaviors and ways of working outside their comfort zone.”
We all fumble and fall. It’s part of our reality to experience some failure. In addition, failure can be a launchpad for success. Pema Chodron, Tibetan Buddhist, writes “fail, fail again and fail better.” Chodron encourages people to look at their failures and the associated emotions as a time to step back and look at the big picture. Martineau and Mount write. “Failure can be your springboard forward. “
FIRST DEFINE SUCCESS: Perhaps you are at a juncture in life where you want to reinvent, consider a transition or even move towards semi-retirement. Take time to envision your success. Ask yourself what will success look like? Heather Banks, a Chief Human Resources officer, defines her personal success by the impact she has on the world. Success can also defined by the depth of our relationships, our impact on people in our work and community, and even the steps we take to support the issues we care about. Take time to define and envision your success. Think about how you want to stretch and grow your definition of success.
NAME YOUR GLORIOUS FAILURES : When you hit the wall on your journey to success, things go sideways and they will, you feel turned upside down…stop and pause. Don’t judge yourself. Rather ask yourself…what was that glorious failure? Look the failure in the eye and consider what can you learn from this failure. Perhaps share it with a trusted friend. Learn how to leverage this failure to become a springboard for your future.
To help you get started ask yourself:
- How do I define success at this point in my life?
- What has been my most recent glorious failure?
- How can naming my failure empower me to better achieve the success I envision?