Celebrating success comes easily to Americans. You see professional football players dancing in the end zone, even if their touchdown didn’t mean they won the game. You see confetti pour out of the ceiling at NBA games, even when the team is no longer in the playoff hunt. You get a bonus in your paycheck when the company has a banner year… Well, we can dream that’s what you would get if you were a part of the company’s success, and I’ve heard they do that somewhere. And by all means, celebrate your success! You earned it. However, success isn’t the only thing you should celebrate. You should also celebrate your failure.
Far too often, people are penalized for failing. In school, failing could lead to not getting into college. An ‘F’ on a progress report is a sing that the child isn’t learning something or that the system is failing the child – depending on which side of the fence you live. In business, those that fail are denied promotions and lose their job or they lose their business. But failure is the first and most important step toward success. How many times do pro athletes fail before they succeed? And often their success would be failure in any other business.
By celebrating failure, you’re encouraging creativity and sticking to the problem to solve it. If you punish failure as a business, your employees aren’t going to come up with innovations or new ideas, because those will often fail. The first iteration of something rarely works well because it’s never been done before. That’s why there are prototypes.
Celebrating Failure Isn’t Enough
Of course, celebrating failure isn’t enough to succeed; you also have to learn from your failure. Examine what went wrong, why it didn’t work, and make adjustments. Then, go out and try again. If you fail, celebrate, learn and try again. If you succeed, celebrate and figure out how to do it better next time.
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