Failure is a Choice - for Leaders and Teams

This is a guest post from The Winner’s Circle of The Pacific Institute

From time to time, everyone on our team experiences setbacks. We set a course and start out, but then we find ourselves at a dead end. Maybe we get fired from a job or our spouse files for divorce or resources we needed to finish a project don’t materialize and we’re left holding the bag. But what does it take to turn a setback like this into a failure? Well, the answer is simple. The only thing it takes is your attitude.

You see, failure is always a choice. Now, sometimes it’s a perfectly acceptable choice. For example, many folks are great golfers, but others have chosen to be a failure at the game because they prefer to use their time and energy to succeed in other ways. But when you choose to succeed and you’re willing to do what it takes, no matter what it takes, you may have setbacks, but you won’t fail.

Even if things go wrong, even if outside influences force you to adjust your goals, even if others see you as a failure, they’re dead wrong – if you are determined to learn and grow from your mistakes.

One of the most “successful failures” was the Apollo 13 moon mission that went awry on the way to the moon. Despite all the challenges, the team of three astronauts were brought home safely. The mission was a failure, but the recovery was a spectacular success. And much was learned. Sometimes, we learn more from our mistakes.

We didn’t land human beings on the moon immediately after we decided on the goal. It took study, research, trial-and-error, and mistakes were made. One miscalculation nearly caused three good men to die. But we did make it to the moon, because we had learned from those mistakes to create success. More than anything else, it was the attitude toward failure that ensured success.

When has a mistake or unexpected setback derailed your vision of your Team? What did you learn from that event?