I’m really quite fascinated by the idea of “failure” and how we perceive it in our lives. I’ve talked before about my own avoidance of failure…god forbid… and the impact that fear can have on the way you approach things in your life.
Which is why I liked this article I read recently about Etsy Engineers sending company wide emails confessing mistakes they made.
I love this idea of being more open and transparent about the mistakes that we make. Not only does it help other people to learn but it changes the way that mistakes are perceived and thus, makes people less fearful and more willing to break the mould and do new things. You’d think admitting your mistakes would make you look weaker, but actually, mostly it makes people look smarter.
So why do we have so much trouble doing it?
I guess this is part of the reason that I started writing things in my blog about my own failures…in an effort to try to crank open that door and force myself onto the platform. But, I’ll admit, it is really hard. You have to be willing to be vulnerable and, quite frankly, that can feel a little crap. So many “what if’s” go through your mind and I can see why the far easier option is to sweep these things under the carpet and move on.
I know the kids are told at school that if they are not making mistakes, they are not learning. Which I really like (considering school is often the place where we learn that there is only right and wrong, where our mistakes mean we don’t get the grades, where we are teased for our mistakes). Hopefully they will keep that mantra as they grow up.
I guess that Trust is also key. Will the people around me, accept my mistakes?
I’m trying to implement an open policy at work, which is tricky, especially when it feels like you are the only one admitting mistakes and learnings while everyone is looking perfect and polished…(story of my life)… but I’m hoping that, given time, my team and colleagues will start to come to me with their mistakes, knowing that I make them too and we can figure out solutions together.
At home, it can actually be harder. I try really hard to admit when I have made a mistake to my kids, because I know that it is a good learning experience for them as well if I can role model it. BUT gosh sometimes it is hard to spit those words out.
The more I do it though, the less I am afraid of it, and I think that is a much better place to be and makes me far braver to try new things. Because if I fail, well, at least I might have an interesting story to tell!