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Learning From Failure
Blog / Leadership / Dec 1, 2018 / Posted by Claudia Kimla-Stern / 201 

Learning From Failure

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It’s the time of the year when we take a few moments to stand still, think about our path through the recent past, evaluate what went well and what went wrong and are thankful for the bright moments in our life. We begin thinking on how to best plan for the upcoming year.

It’s also a time when we’re given space to take a step back, unplug and take the speed out of how we are navigating through our business lives.

This particular time is very important, not only to spend with our loved ones and ourselves but also because it is a time of self-reflection. And I am convinced that self-reflection is one of the pillars of success.

Organize Your Thoughts

Reflect, evaluate, sort out, plan and organize—these are crucial milestones on our way to success, no matter what business or position you are in. The better you are organized, the more space and flexibility opens up for unprecedented situations. And it is part of a manager’s or a salespersons’ job to be prepared when events take an unexpected turn.

At this time of the year, you can fill mental “bookshelves” of your business life with the right books of experience, as well as cleaning up and putting everything the right order.

Examine Failure in the Right Light

Reflection is not strictly on the positive. Of course, you’re looking back on successes, but also on outcomes of failure, or wrong ways taken. On which should we focus more when we start our planning and sorting out? The successes and great moments, or the ones where there is room for improvement and where there have been missteps?

I think that the way we view failures is very important. Should we see them as being unchangeable— ”set in stone”—or learning steps along our journey? It is only when we look at failures as invaluable learning experiences that we can alter our path toward success, in private as well as in business life.

Our society tends to brand someone who fails as being a “loser”—someone who is incapable and who brings no value to a company or activity. But taking a closer look, it is only those “cracks in our road” that make us pause, re-evaluate and consider new ways of thinking and acting.

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Sure, everything in life comes with a price tag—which means that everything in life has consequences. But it is crucial to differentiate between failures that occurred due to carelessness and those that happened as a byproduct of taking opportunities.

Michael Jordan famously said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

It’s so true! You should also note that all great inventions came about through trial and error.

That doesn’t mean if you try things out in your business life and they go wrong, you start all over from the beginning. No! It means taking the reasons for not closing, winning the deal, or the meeting gone awry into consideration and evaluating them. It gives you the opportunity to create a kind of manual for life operation, consisting of best practices developed from your experience.

Denial of, and a refusal to accept, failure increases the likelihood of its recurrence.

The end of a year and the beginning of a new one always gives us the opportunity close out the old year by writing down our successes and lessons learned, and making a plan for the new year to avoid past mistakes and apply the learned “best practices.”

We should all make our working environments places where there is acceptance of failure and reward for improvement.

Take a look at our numerous interviews and advices given by our outstanding SalesPOP! contributors, and take away your own learning for your next business deals!

    About Author

    Claudia is educated in the law, as well as in management, and her career has focused on project management, finance, international event organization and management, media relations and international representation. She excels in event preparation and management as well as media relations.

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