Dedicated to all those brave souls that have failed in life.
And dared to get back up again.
We have so many hang-ups around the word "fail". Even the letter "F" in red, circled, induces mild anxiety and elevates our heart rate. Over the years, we've learned to associate failing with something terrible. Something that is to be avoided at all costs. And if it can't be avoided, then avoid talking about it or even thinking about it. Sweep it all under a rug where you don't see it or feel it.
Our conditioning against failure started when we were very young. When we failed at school, our parents were called in. If they weren't we did everything to make sure they don't see our report cards. This continued throughout college as well. Risks we took as we grew older and the stakes of failure became higher.
It is no surprise then that when we conduct interviews and ask about a time that a candidate failed, we get terrible answers. If you have any experience with this question, you know the objective is not to humiliate anyone or make anyone look unfit for the role. The objective is simple. You are able to accept your mistakes and learn from them. However, every time we try to fill an open position, we often hear the answer, "I have never failed". People are afraid to admit to their prospective employers that they have made a mistake in the past or they failed at something. The whole premise of asking this question is to see if candidates can accept their mistakes and state what they learned from them.
But this does not just apply to a job search or to employment. In general, we are so afraid to be judged for our mistakes and failings that we keep them buried deep inside us. So much so that at times, we are not even able to admit them to ourselves, let alone anyone else.
When we don't admit to mistakes and face them head-on, we tend to make an even bigger mistake - we fail to learn from them. When we don't learn from our mistakes, we tend to overlook the same signs when we are going down that path again in the future. And guess what? We make the exact same mistake again. Or, we just shut ourselves off from the opportunity because we are still holding the emotional trauma we experienced the first time around.