Learning from Failure

When I first moved to Colorado, I wanted to immerse myself into the Rocky Mountain culture and try out snowboarding. I bought a pass, a snowboard, and all the materials that went with it. I was ready to go.

However, when my first day of snowboarding grew closer and closer, I began to get anxious about it. I became scared of the lift, falling, running into people on the mountain; the list goes on and on. In other words, I was scared to fail. And so my first day of snowboarding went pretty bad, and it didn’t improve much. It’s safe to say that I failed at snowboarding last season.

Failure has a lot of power. It can intimidate us so much that it can actually prevent us from taking action. Or it can stop us in our tracks and force retreat.


Some see failure as an end, when it can really be considered the beginning. Every failure is a beginning of a new process – a process that requires failure to learn.

As a business leader, if you happen to experience failure, keep these tips in mind.

1.) Admit the failure. Whether it is ego or embarrassment, many business leaders don’t want to admit when they have failed. Come to grips with failure so you can move forward.

2.) Learn from it. There is always something you can learn from failure. Mistakes allow you to learn what works and what doesn’t. Period.

3.) Perseverance. Instead of getting frustrated when things don’t go as planned, expect change, ambiguity, and frustration at least part of the time. This is normal. Effective leaders demonstrate an ability to persevere no matter what.

I decided to give snowboarding another chance. When I went snowboarding for the first time this season, I acknowledged the fact that I failed at it last season. I evaluated what I could do to improve and I put myself at the edge of my comfort zone.

My result? I’ve been snowboarding several times this season and no broken bones yet.

While it seems ironic, admitting and learning from failure can lead to success.

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