Reframing failure

I remember the first time someone asked me, ‘what have you failed at this week?”

I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. So I replied, “nothing”, and he replied, “well you’re not doing your job then, I need you to fail more”. Wow, I had permission to fail so that I could do better, think better, be better.

He asked me the same thing every week and if I didn’t have something to tell him he’d be would sigh and challenge me to do better.

I remember telling him about trying to get an idea heard but no-one listened, or when I went for a promotion and didn’t get it and he verbally high fived me. He didn’t go into saviour or fix mode, he just looked really proud, then said.. “so what will you do differently next time?”

He reframed my definition of failure which was really hard for the golden girl, the good girl. Failure became about not trying not about win or lose, not about success or the outcome. I will always be grateful for this gift, which has now turned into the great words of Yoda…

Do or do not. There is no try