We’ve all been there.
You make a recommendation in a meeting that you think is the greatest idea since the iPod and all you get back are blank stares and “huh…er… interesting” from your boss.
Or you are all set to make a big speech, but you get so nervous you stumble through the presentation.
No one likes to fail, especially at work. But in some way or another we all do it.
The secret that high performers know and live is that managing failure is a key to success.
So, here are 5 ways top performers fail their way to the top:
1) Fail Small and Fail Fast.
It’s hard to accept failure. As a “type A” personality, it’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I would double and triple check emails before I would send them out, so they would be “perfect.”
Although that was OK in school and in the lower ranks of Corporate America, when I started to manage teams and big projects I needed to learn the concept of “failing fast.” I started with smaller decisions, for which I may not have all the complete data, but enough to make a good recommendation. I had to start trusting my intuition, get comfortable with risk, and just do it.
2) Reframe Failure.
For a long time whenever I failed, I took it as if I was not good enough. The negative thoughts in my head (aka my inner mean girl) would go wild with all the ways I (not my work) had failed. However, I’ve learned to look at failure for what it is: feedback on the task performed not commentary on my abilities and talents.
When you receive feedback as a tool to improve the work, it takes much of the stress out of feedback. When I saw that it was the work that needed to be improved, I stopped stressing about me and learned what needed to be corrected so I could continue moving forward in action. (See #4 below for a technique video on how to let go of the criticism so you can move forward. It’s helped me ALOT.)
3) Feel the Burn and Use It as Fuel.
I used this strategy for the first time when I was in high school. (Although at the time, I didn’t know it was a strategy.)
In 10th grade, I tried out for All State Choir. I thought I had it in the bag since my scores for All County were strong, so I didn’t practice very hard. And then, I didn’t get in. Watching my friends’ work be rewarded with the success that I wanted, I felt the burn of that failure. I got angry and determined. Instead of wallowing in all that I did wrong, I decided I would do whatever it took to make it the next year.
And so I didn’t just practice for All State, I trained. So much that I still can sing the qualifier song “The Silver Swan” with very good quality tone, rhythm and melody many years later. In the end, I not only got in to All State Choir, but also qualified for All Eastern as well.
4) Stop Festering on It!
OK, this one is going out to all the ladies out there. So many of my clients struggle with letting go of the negative feedback. We hold on to it and let it fester inside of us until our inner mean girl takes over and erodes our confidence.
Check out this video on how to Let It Go!*
5) When In Doubt, Take Action!
We can easily get stuck in analysis paralysis or perfection syndrome. It can halt us from making progress. Next time when some self doubt prevents action, do this: pause, do an intuition check, take a breath, and just take action!
*If you liked the strategy video above, then please join me for the FREE “Get It Done” Video Training series. You’ll get short, actionable videos sent directly to your inbox.
To Your Success,