So you’ve failed. Now what?

So you’ve failed, now what?

We know the definition of failure is changing – but is your mindset changing as well?

Your failure mindset is important not just for you and your overall mental health, but for the health of your organization and those you lead.

Improvisers learn how to fail forward – using failure as a positive launching pad towards what we call gifts – unexpected learnings or outcomes that wouldn’t have occurred without failure. This mindset, combined with the utmost trust on stage, gives us the courage to take risks, and to potentially fail.

In doing so we don’t so much focus on the failure, but instead what comes next.

Scott Edinger over at the Harvard Business Review has written a fantastic piece about those “next steps”….

  • Acknowledge the failure/admit the mistake – don’t hide in shame, accept responsibility
  • Take steps  to fix the problem – focus on what’s next and keep moving forward
  • Look for lessons – Focus on the cause of the failure and not the blame. Remember what you can and can’t control.
  • Adopt a growth oriented mindset instead of a fixed mindset. One leaves us helpless, the other pushes us forward in a positive, healthy direction.
  • Be kind to yourself – take a mental or physical break when you need it. 
  • Talk  about it – Find someone you trust and seek out the help you need. 
  • What’s next? What small wins can you achieve now to keep you failing forward. How can you take back control?

Failure comes in all shapes and sizes, but one thing we know for sure is failure is inevitable – learning what part of the failure puzzle you can control helps you fail faster and fail forward.