Phyllis Shallman – In Praise of Failure

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Failure is the greatest teacher.

There’s nothing else like it to seize your attention. It’s hard to look away from a trainwreck. It’s even harder when you’re the one driving the train.

Failure leaves you reeling. It forces you to ask a critical question—”what went wrong?”

The answer can reveal some powerful truths.

It reveals truths about your process. Maybe your strategy for carrying out business is flawed and needs to be retooled.

It reveals truths about your assumptions. Flawed strategies stem from faulty assumptions. What are you assuming about people or the world that led to your failure?

It reveals truths about your character. Assumptions don’t appear from nowhere. They’re shaped by experiences and core beliefs about what’s right, wrong, and how the world works. Failure exposes those character forming beliefs like nothing else.

Simply put, failure cuts right to the core of who you are. And that can be a powerful and positive experience, if you’ll listen to it.

So get out there. Drop the ball. Spill some milk. Botch something.

And don’t be afraid to call it like it is—when it’s clear that you’re failing, acknowledge it and jump ship.

Then, ask yourself “what went wrong?” Be brutally honest. Take notes. Adjust as needed. And then get back out there.

You’ll find that you’re far stronger than you’ve been led to believe, and that you grow more resilient the more you attempt.

So here’s to failure. May you have enough that it paves the way to your greatest success.

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