I don’t understand people who don’t like to learn. What’s not to like?
I think they might have a false belief about learning. They think it’s boring or scary or just too hard.
But it’s not. It’s amazing.
There is nothing I love more than learning. If I’m not learning something new every single day, I feel like the day has been wasted.
Learning is everything.
Entrepreneurs who don’t want to learn are at a distinct disadvantage compared to those business owners who love to learn. It’s really the only way to make sure you’re constantly growing and getting better.
Today I want to share one particular skill that, if you choose to practice it, you will learn faster than you ever could without it.
Embrace this one skill set, build this one muscle, and you will be a completely different person one year from now. You might not even recognize yourself.
What is that skill?
Learning how to fail.
It sounds negative, counterintuitive, the exact opposite of what we’re going for as entrepreneurs, right? But hear me out...
A failure event occurs when you don’t see or experience the outcome you expected. In order to fail, you have to intend to do something. You have to have the intention of creating something. If there was never a goal or mark, you can’t miss it.
Being willing to fail, and learning how to use that failure well, will propel you forward in your business and in life. Fear of failure means you’ll just standstill.
Maybe you’ve experienced disappointment to the point where you don’t want to try anymore. This can happen to entrepreneurs. Maybe you’re in the process of building a business right now, and you found out during this global pandemic that your business wasn’t an essential business, and it didn’t make it.
Maybe things feel out of your control and you don’t want to try again, don’t want to hope again.
I get that. I understand. But I think, as humans, we spend too much time underestimating the power of failure.
How we interpret a failure event makes all the difference in the world.
A failure event is not the end. And, if you respond to it in a positive way—by failing fast, failing forward, failing frequently—then it could actually be the beginning of something amazing.
Maybe your job is gone because of the pandemic. You may be in a situation where you’re having to reevaluate the value you bring to the marketplace. You get to choose how you view this failure event.
You can choose to let this “failure” propel you forward into something better on the other side of it. We have no idea what’s out there. We may end up surprising ourselves because we gave ourselves permission to fail.
If we don’t allow ourselves to fail, we might not ever discover what we’re good at. And, heaven forbid, we could even pass on without ever knowing.
Then the entire world misses out on what would have been our genius.
You’ve probably heard me voice my dissatisfaction with the traditional schooling system (I won’t call it an educational system). One of the ways it fails us is that it teaches us, trains us, to complete the course before we ever try the thing.
You go to school, study the thing for 12 years, THEN go put it into practice. That delay does not serve us well in any way.
We train ourselves to be ashamed at having not done something or failed to meet an expectation. In some cases, we don’t try ever again.
I tried something new in recent years that has come to be a very fun and exciting part of my life.
Photography is an art where you quickly learn that you need to use your mistakes as opportunities to learn. There’s no getting it right when you first pick up the camera.
It all started with me wanting really good photos of my kids. I was frustrated, and from that frustration came lots of practice, lots of images, lots of failures. Anytime you or I go to learn a skill it starts with being willing to fail at it.
I’ve had the privilege of taking photos from time to time and sharing them with people. And I’m really proud of the images I’ve been creating.
One of the other skills I’ve considered attempting is learning another language. When you’re learning another language, you sound funny. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. We have this relationship with this concept of failure that tends to hold us back.
How many times you’ve failed today could be a measure of your progress. Is that something you’re willing to track? You want to achieve something and you recognize that you’re not good at it yet.
The more I allow it to be part of my process, the more times I get to surprise myself.
I didn’t know that I would end up being good at taking photos and creating images. I love taking images of things that move quickly. I’m still working at that ultimate hummingbird shot. But I also love landscapes and nature. And, of course, photos of my STR units!
What’s really cool right now is that it’s a great time to practice failing. That thing you’ve always wanted to do or become? It could be the very next thing you do to create value in the marketplace.
This lesson in failing well is something I’m determined to pass along to my children. Is it beneficial to prevent your child from experiencing failure?
No, it’s not, because one of the things you want to do is build their confidence. Be there for them during their journey of experiencing failure. You can’t protect them from it.
Protecting them from failure is “protecting” them from growth and success.
Right now I’m intentionally helping my children experience failure by challenging them in areas I believe they already have talents in and giving them the opportunity to try and try again.
My 12-year-old is experimenting with cameras and video production. I started giving her 8-10 minute video projects to work on for my business. I’m giving her complete creative freedom.
She has courses on video editing, and she’s on her iPad editing video. She’s going to make mistakes, and that’s okay. I want her to push through them so she can get good at it. It’s a skill set that’s in demand right now and will be for a long time. This is an opportunity for her to have her own business someday in the not-so-distant future.
Is she going to get frustrated? Of course. When she tries to fail slowly and infrequently, will I let her get away with that. Absolutely not.
I’ll say this again until you can say it in your sleep:
Learn to fail fast, fail forward, and fail frequently
We can all fail, but we don’t necessarily do it quickly or in a forward direction or often enough. When you experience failure next, hopefully later today, mark how long it takes you to try that same thing again.
I’ve never seen “one day” or “someday” on a calendar. Try it again today.
I’m not saying it always feels fun. It doesn’t have to.
But being able to free yourself from the stigma surrounding failure? That’s huge.
Often, the promotion you’re looking for is on the other side of the failed attempt you’re running from.
Each of us can improve. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to go LIVE on Facebook and YouTube for 30 days a couple of times a year. It’s easy to do it secretly without stating an intent, without saying what I hope will happen. Just because I don’t want to fail.
When we do those things, we have the opportunity to introduce the world to a new version of us.
What are we afraid of?
Let’s say, worst-case scenario, you try 100 different ways to achieve a certain goal and none of them ever worked.
Okay, fine. So, go out and produce an eBook or a course around 100 Ways To Fail at X. People will find value in you sharing your failure because you’re helping them avoid your mistakes.
There is no good excuse out there for not trying, for being afraid of failure.
You have absolutely nothing to lose.