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. 

What’s the drill – April 18: Listening for potential

Here is one way to apply a positive psychology mindset to the every day conversations we have.

The next time someone ( friend, co-worker, or relative) comes to you with a problem – think about what you listen for.

Try to listen for potential.

Identify the basic problem they are describing and then, help your partner to decipher what action or mindset will make it better.

When we listen for potential, we are focusing on the solution instead of the problem.

This solution-based approach was spear-headed by my esteemed colleague Paul Z. Jackson and aligns nicely with positive psychology, growth mindsets and the tools of an Improviser.

The joy of life-long learning

Growing up, my favorite word was “Why”.

Well, truthfully it was also, “baseball”, and probably words relating to boy bands, but I was always a curious person.

I wanted to know why things were the way they were, and this fascination and curiosity has always played a part in every job I’ve had. I was constantly observing, watching, reading and listening. I wanted to know everything – specifically about human behavior.

Especially intriguing was the opportunity to get at the root of an issue, a person, a process, and uncover the meaty reasons why things were the way they were.

There is a beauty to approaching each job, and each experience this way. It allows us all to view everything as a learning opportunity.   I find the same beauty in a growth mindset. If we view ourselves and others as having the ability to constantly change and grow and learn, then the challenges we face aren’t obstacles, they are opportunities. Part of it starts with an open mind.

One of the greatest things about being a Learning and Development professional is that I will never reach the end of my learning. There is always room to grow, and this growth and learning directly benefits others. That is the goal.

I’m off to a 5-day learning adventure in New York and can’t wait to see what I uncover there.

Where have you found your most profound learning experiences?