How to Leverage Failure

There’s a lot of talk about celebrating failure in the innovation process. However, failure alone isn’t really enough. You have to use that failure to help you and those around you grow.

There’s a great little piece in the NYTs today on this: Talking About Failure is Crucial for Growth – here’s how to do it right

Failure can help us grow if we use it to connect with colleagues. It offers a great opportunity to ask for help and share our vulnerability. It also offers an opportunity to learn.

So the next time you fail, instead of burying it and pretending it never happened, push through that shame and use your failure as an opportunity to connect and to learn.

 

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Ideas and Methods that Work

an excerpt from the book Art & Fear about artistic practice:

As a practical matter, ideas and methods that work usually continue to work. If you were working smoothly and now you are stuck, chances are, you unnecessarily altered some approach that was already working perfectly well….When things go haywire, your best opening strategy might be to return very carefully and consciously to the habits and practices that were in play the last time you felt good about the work. Return to the space you drifted away from and, sometimes at least, the work will return as well.

Processing Anger Through Art

I scan TV music and dance competitions to watch the great performances. This one by a young dancer, Jaxon Willard, is worth watching. Also worth listening to is his explanation of the piece to the judges:

“It’s about my feelings toward my birth mom and how I was angry and felt abandoned by her. But then I also didn’t know how to [trails off – crying] I didn’t know how to share these feelings with the mom I have now because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. So I just suppressed all these feelings. But throughout my journey and though growing, I learned that I can’t just be mad at my birth mom because I don’t know the full story.”

What a courageous and generous act of empathy from this artist to his birth mom. Mature beyond his years.

Judge Ne-Yo is spot on when he describes the performance and the performer as the “epitome of power and vulnerability. You jump in the air and you float.”

In tears, judge Jennifer Lopez calls out the importance of Jaxon’s journey to his art, “Without your story, you wouldn’t be able to be the artist that you are today.”

Processing emotion through your art can make great art. It can also help you heal.

If you don’t set your own priorities

someone else will set them for you.

And if you’re the type of person who says yes to every request that is made of them, then you are letting other people set your priorities.

You say yes because you want to help. You have a generous spirit and have the best of intentions. But saying yes too quickly can get you into trouble.

To gain more control over setting your own priorities, create a new habit: use the pause button. When someone asks you to do something, instead of saying yes right away, try forming a new habit. Smile and say, “That’s a great idea. Let me get back to you on that.” And do get back to them. But first, take some time to evaluate how this request affects your priorities. This request probably doesn’t need to be filled today. It might not even need to be filled by you. Pause and think about it.

 

TAKE IT FURTHER

Greg McKeown in HBR

A Sunday Reflection

I’m grateful for the writing I’m doing these days. I’ve been writing some longer pieces and that has been satisfying.

I’m grateful for the different groups of people that I work with on different projects. That diversity and engagement feed my soul.

I’m grateful that spring has finally arrived. I’m happy about the plants that I picked up at the farm stand that are now sitting on my porch.

I’m grateful for my friends and family even though I don’t see them as much as I’d like to. I hope that they are enjoying spring too.

I’m grateful for my husband and our little aging dog. We’ve been through a lot together and it’s so nice to enjoy to have the peaceful times we are having these days.