Popular culture has left us with the idea that “failure is not an option”. While no one likes to fail, the reality of the situation is failure happens. On this episode of Insights Into Teens we’re going to talk about what failure is and how to turn failures into positive and constructive experiences.
Insights Into Teens: Episode 147 “Dealing with Failure”
My co-host Joseph Whalen
Popular culture has left us with the idea that “failure is not an option”. While no one likes to fail, the reality of the situation is failure happens. On this episode of Insights Into Teens we’re going to talk about what failure is and how to turn failures into positive and constructive experiences.
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What is failure?
A fairly common understanding of failure is setting a goal but not achieving it.
We tend to believe that knowing whether or not you achieved a goal is fairly simple and straightforward. It’s often based on data.
But in truth, failure is often in the eye of the beholder.
Imagine yourself in each of these three scenarios and whether you’d consider yourself to have failed:
An experienced marathon runner sets a goal to run her next marathon in under four-and-a-half hours.
This goal is a full 15 minutes shorter than her prior best time.
She completes the marathon in 4 hours and 36 minutes.
Besting her prior record by nine minutes.
Failure, or success?
A senior director seeks a promotion to VP and competes against other internal and external candidates.
She receives positive feedback.
But she gets told that the leadership team felt that hiring an external person would demonstrate their commitment to change.
Failure, or success?
A top young professional at an organization gets asked to prepare a slide deck for a high-profile meeting.
He submits what he considers to be an excellent presentation to his boss.
The boss praises the work but substantially changes the slides before the big meeting.
Failure, or success?
Notice that the differentiator in all three of these failure analysis examples is an ideal we’ve set in our minds.
Measuring goal achievement can be a subjective and political activity. And in each of these examples above, you can sense that the individuals tried hard and performed well in their efforts.
Perhaps that common definition of being in failure mode as “not achieving a goal” isn’t so accurate and straightforward, after all.
We can reframe failure using these synonyms:
When you’re new at something, success is less likely.
Just as you can’t set an expectation for a child to tie their shoes perfectly the first time.
Or even the tenth time.
You can’t hold yourself to the standard of the expert when you’re a novice.
When you try something new, take a beginner’s mindset.
Remind yourself that you are a novice and give yourself many chances to improve.
Fear of failure is one of the strongest inhibitors of learning.
We fail at 100% of the things we never try.
And we have a chance to learn at 100% of the things we fail at.
If you have a strong perfectionistic streak, you may label things as failures that are not.
For example, you may make a mistake during a presentation at a high-level meeting with top organizational leaders.
Despite excellent feedback from all in attendance, you fixate on the one moment that didn’t go exactly as planned.
When you are beating yourself up for a past failure, ask yourself, “Have I actually failed?”
Such biases are practices or beliefs embedded within a system that disadvantage different groups.
In the modern workplace, systemic bias persists against people of color.
They also persist against women, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community.
For many of them, it can be the root cause of their perceived failure.
Our worlds are increasingly ambiguous and unpredictable.
Who could have anticipated a global pandemic would break roots in 2019 upend the world of work almost overnight?
Avoiding failure is nearly impossible in some environments.
Particularly those that are highly volatile, uncertain, complex, or ambiguous.
When ambiguity is decreasing the likelihood of goal achievement, adjust goal targets or pivot the business.
Trial and error:
A core principle of design thinking is the idea of failing fast and learning from failure.
This mindset embraces failure as a natural part of the creative process.
Trial and error provide the opportunity to continuously make things better.
Sometimes, a small failure becomes the setback that sparks a renewed commitment to a goal or project.
You may have subconsciously put the goal on autopilot or become distracted by other priorities.
The basic idea? Something that looks failed or broken may only be a misrepresentation of an unfinished process.
Step back and look at the longer-term trajectory before declaring something failed.
Success versus Failure
If the definition of failure is not achieving a goal, then does meeting a goal equal success?
To some extent, yes. But that definition feels too confining.
Success is psychologically bigger than goal achievement itself.
And importantly, it is possible to feel like a successful person even in the face of failure.
In our society, we do not tend to acknowledge and appreciate the process of achievements.
Instead, we make the feeling of success contingent upon the outcome.
It is important to feel successful.
When do you allow yourself to feel successful?
If you make success contingent only on achieving outcome goals, you might start to find yourself never feeling good enough.
Instead, let’s consider an alternative definition of success.
Where we allow ourselves to feel successful for all the efforts we put forth.
Rather than the outcomes.
Success is knowing what you want out of life.
And feeling proud of yourself for investing in what is meaningful to you.
Success and failure can be highly subjective.
A more open mindset may help you reframe your failure to success.
Stages of Failure
Over time, you may shift your focus to feeling successful from process outcomes.
There are three stages of failure:
Failure of vision is when you are not clear about what you want or your personal “why.”
When you don’t know what you want out of life. Or if you are not feeling purpose and meaning in your life.
Then you might be having a failure of vision.
This is where looking inward and focusing on your own well-being can make a difference.
Failure of tactics is when you know what you want but don’t have a clear or effective plan for achieving it.
For instance, maybe you’ve failed to complete a project because you only have a general sketch and not a master plan.
Even those who are effective at strategic planning in the workplace sometimes struggle. Especially with translating those skills into tactics for personal or leadership development. This is where habit tracking and development can be very effective.
Failure of strategy is when you have a plan and follow it, but still do not achieve your goal.
An endless number of factors could be affecting your success. They may be related or unrelated to your plan.
Failure of strategy is an ideal moment to employ your design thinking skills and get working on the next iteration.
Understanding why you feel failure can help you overcome challenges to your process outcomes.
Perhaps you’re “simply unfinished.”
Then, thinking through this will result in “renewed motivation” to achieve your process outcomes.
Keep in mind that none of us can avoid failure all the time. That isn’t the intent.
We live in a world where our success as individuals and teams depends on us learning more and faster to perform better.
If we aren’t failing, we probably aren’t taking enough risks.
Too often, we kind of intellectually embrace experimentation and risk-taking.
But we want to do it efficiently and cleanly without failing. That isn’t the intent.
The intent is to be resilient in the face of failure.
A resilient person will use these strengths in the service of goal attainment:
Show kindness toward yourself and others involved in the failure.
Focus on empathy and keeping the failure in perspective.
There’s a difference between admitting failure and beating yourself up over it.
Be willing to quickly learn from failures and pivot to new opportunities.
Take a learner’s approach with a non-judgmental stance.
By default, we respond defensively or cast blame.
Instead, reflect deeply and try to understand how to be different going forward.
Stay curious and creative.
Collect data to inform decisions and next steps.
Purpose and meaning:
Don’t have regrets.
Reconnect with the larger meaning behind the goal and use that to drive new approaches.
Appreciate the efforts that you and others have dedicated thus far.
Feel successful by weighing the process as much as or more than the outcome.
Learning from Failure
Failure is a great teacher.
It can be a valuable lesson for us in the long run. We should be able to examine it and take important lessons away from it.
Performing a failure analysis and looking at the root causes of our failure is a key way of learning from failure.
This is particularly true if you suffer a complex failure where the reason for failure may not be immediately clear.
It’s nice to know what we are doing right in our jobs or business.
But failure feedback gives us something equally important: a learning process or teachable moment about what we are doing wrong as well.
Often, small failures early on in a project can almost be like an experiment. These failures can create innovation that leads to future success.
Performing a Failure Analysis
There are several different frameworks that you can use for failure analysis.
One of the most popular is FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis).
Performing a failure analysis allows you to calculate a risk priority number (RPN) for a process.
An RPN is based on the severity, occurrence rate, and detection rate of different challenges that may arise in your business processes.
To perform a process failure analysis, there are 10 steps that you need to follow:
- Review the process
- Brainstorm potential failure modes (root causes)
- List potential effects of each failure
- Assign severity rankings
- Assign occurrence rankings
- Assign detection rankings
- Calculate the RPN (risk priority number)
- Develop an action plan
- Take action
- Calculate the resulting RPN (risk priority number)
If you want to take a more structured approach to learning from your model, these steps will guide you through the process.
What should we take away from Failure?
Failure is not inherently bad.
On the contrary, most failures provide amazing opportunities to gain new insights about yourself or your work.
And some failures even create the opportunity to be triumphant.
We are working and living in increasingly ambiguous and fast-changing systems.
We will all have to get more comfortable with making mistakes and learning to fail better.
Learning to fail is a skill we can all practice.
Closing thoughts shoutouts
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Insightful podcasts by informative host insights into things, a podcast network welcome to Insights into Teens. A podcast series exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison. Well, as a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of.
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The teenage years.
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Welcome to Insights into Teens. This is episode one 47 Dealing with Failure. I’m your host, Madison Whalen and my co-host Joseph Whalen.
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Hello, Matty. How are you doing today?
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I’m doing all right. How about you?
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I’m doing okay. How are things when we’ve been off Took an extra week off last week. Band started up again. Marching band? Yep. So your schedule is filling up. We had to shuffle our recording days around a little bit. So we’re recording on Thursdays now?
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And the schedule is just going to get more hectic as the months roll on. Right? That’s all right. It’s something to do, right? Anything exciting happened in that time?
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One of my friends is probably is in marching band now. One of my younger friends.
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I’ll be hanging out with her more.
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That’s cool. All good stuff.
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So, what are you talking about today?
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Today we’re talking about dealing with failure. Popular culture has left us with the idea that failure is not an option. While no one likes to fail, the reality of the situation is failure happens. On this episode of Insight in the teens, we’re going to talk about what failure is and how to turn fate failures into positive and constructive experiences.
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The first fumble.
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There you go. Let’s get that out of the way right up front.
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Let’s get the fumbles out of the way. All right. Shall we get started? Oh, wait.
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We got a business to do before we get started.
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I know, but before we get started, I’m sorry I haven’t hosted.
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Let me prompt you here. This might help eat. Oh, wine, please.
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So, hang on. Before we get started, we’d like you to subscribe to our podcast. You can find our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, and pretty much anywhere you can get a podcast service You can also email us at comments and insights and things dot com or on Twitter at Twitter.com, Slosh Insights into things, underscore things We’re on Facebook at Facebook, dot com, slash insights in the Things Podcast on things.
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Com That’s a lot of Ws I mean.
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It’s only three.
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All right we stumbled through all that Are you ready?
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So what is failure? And this research comes to us from better up. So a fairly common understanding of failure is setting a goal, but not achieving it. We tend to believe that knowing whether or not you achieve a goal is fairly simple and straightforward. It’s often based on data. But in truth, failure is often in the eye of the beholder.
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Imagine yourself in these three scenarios and whether you’d consider yourself to a failed and experienced man. Marathon Runner sets a goal to run her next marathon in under four and a half hours. This goal is a full 15 minutes shorter than her prior best time. She completes the marathon in 4 hours and 36 minutes, but besting her prior not know her prior record by 9 minutes.
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Failure or success?
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Well, I don’t know. Coming from someone like me, just like doing a marathon is a monumental success. Walking a man marathon in four days for me would be a monumental success. But that’s one of the that’s one of those situations where you certainly did better, but you didn’t hit your goal. So maybe it’s not 100% success.
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It’s more success than what you had been met with before.
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Yeah. You were able to not only reach your previous time, but overcome it slightly Right.
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And it’s a progressive type thing.
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Yeah. Me thinking about it. You only you didn’t finished. You only finished six more minutes ahead of your original goal.
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Right. So you improved.
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And that’s the important thing.
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What’s our next scenario?
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A senior director seeks a promotion to VIP and competes against other internal and external candidates. She receives positive feedback, but she gets told that the leadership team felt that hiring an external person would demonstrate their commitment to charge failure or success.
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Well, and this is a good one here. So in this case, what you wanted to achieve was a total failure because you wanted that position of VP, but you got praise. But what’s Praiz going to do in that situation?
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Just put salt in the wound, right?
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It’s like, Oh, you do a really good job, but it doesn’t matter because we want to promote a certain image of change. So we’re going to bring somebody in from the outside. So in that case, is it a failure because you didn’t fail to get the job because you weren’t qualified if it weren’t the right person, the criteria preventing you from getting the job.
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So in that case, failure was the only option because they weren’t going to let you have that job no matter what.
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So there’s still a sense of failure, although there was nothing you could have done differently to change the outcome.
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What’s our last one?
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Our last one is a top young professional, and an organization gets asked to prepare a slide deck for a high profile meeting. He submits what he considers to be an excellent presentation to his boss. The boss praises the work, but substantially changes the slides before the big meeting. Failure or success.
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And this is another good one. So in this case, here, you did everything that was asked of you. The boss changed what the presentation looked like, but I don’t know if that necessarily means it’s a failure in your part. Yeah, because the boss could be going for a certain type of presentation, a certain style. He could be going for a certain type of reaction.
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From the audience. He might know the audience better than you do. And him asking you to to prepare the slides was because you knew the material better than he did.
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So if he’s presenting the same information but in a different way, I would say that’s probably a success, not a failure.
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So it’s let’s finish up here and then I can. I can go on.
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So notice that the differentiator.
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The differentiator in all three of these failure analysis examples is an idea we’ve set in our minds. Measuring Goal and Shiffman can be a subjective and political activity. And in each of these examples above, you can you can sense that the individuals tried hard and performed well in their efforts Perhaps that common definition of being in failure mode as not achieving a goal isn’t so accurate and straightforward after all.
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Yeah, I think that the important takeaway here is that success is not necessarily goal oriented because there are circumstances that determine how much you can succeed. Success isn’t black and white. It’s not yes or no. In a lot of cases, yeah. And in many cases, success is a measure of achievement, not a measure of success.
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And I think the three examples they give you here are really talking kind of hitting the point on that where even though you don’t like let’s put it in terms of a high school Okay. So you may have a tough task coming up on a subject that you’re struggling with and you may be getting a being in that class right now.
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And you study and study and study with the hope of getting 100 on that test, which would far exceed where your current grades are where you take the test and you do pretty good on it, but you don’t get 100, you get a 95 on it. Well, just because you didn’t get 100 doesn’t mean you failed You’ve gotten far better than you’ve gotten on the previous tests.
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So again, it’s that measure of how much you’ve succeeded it’s not the switch that you flip on and off.
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Do you have situations like that where your, your measure of success comes in degrees or usually do you find that your success or failures are, you know, do or die where you don’t? If you don’t complete something, then it’s, it’s 100% failure.
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Well, yeah, I will say that I actually had a specific scenario today based on my presentation. I was supposed to be doing an engineering. Basically, it was about the product. The product lifecycle of an IKEA is a shoe and basically we were the last group to go up and everyone else did their presentations and pretty much everyone had certain aspects of the process that our group didn’t.
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And I thought that we didn’t get all of it. We’re not going to do well on it. It’s going to or it’s just going to fail and we’re going to get a lower grade for it and it’s just going to be awful. So basically it was like one or two slides about like the manufacturing process and just the material processing and basically we didn’t include those.
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We kind of just included what we thought our teacher wanted. And it kind of made me think, Oh my God, we’ve completely failed at this. We were supposed to do all of it and we didn’t.
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And how did the teacher treat it?
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Well, we still did our regular presentation although people thought it was pretty well when I asked them. And I’m pretty sure the teacher was fine with it because there was another group that didn’t really do that either. So I don’t think he thought of it as a big deal entirely.
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See, and that’s the important thing because a lot of times it’s not just about whether or not you execute on what the ultimate outcome is, it’s how you get there. And I run into this a lot at work with my staff where I’ll task them to do something. And yes, the ultimate goal might be to upgrade a mail server, for instance, while doing that and then having all the prep work ahead of time.
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So for instance, we’re going through a similar situation now where we’re moving to a newer version of our mail server, and it was budgeted for two days of work to get done. And we had reached out where we’re engaging with an outside vendor in this case here, and we engage with them weeks ahead of time to try to line everything up.
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One of the things that I do is I, I have a tendency of planning things to the nth degree and I like to have all my stuff planned out and ready to go and I like to have backup plans in place because nothing ever goes like you plan and plan A So I’ve got a plan B, C, D, and A usually and I have reached out to this vendor probably three times and asked them, hey, can you guys jump into our system, give it a once over, make sure all the assumptions that you’ve made so far are accurate so that we’re going to have a smooth transition Well, that started last week.
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So our two day project is now finishing up its second week and it’s not done yet. And it’s because as soon as these guys decided to start working, they started running into problems and they’re all problems that could have been found ahead of time if they had gotten in the system like I’d asked them to in-licensing issues and drive storage and all kinds of simple things that are maintenance, things that had to be cleaned up after they started.
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So ultimately the end goal is going to be achieved. You know, we’re going to get this upgrade done. But the project, in my opinion, at least as far as as vendors concerned, is going to be a failure because it was budget it for two days. It’s taken more than two weeks. You’ve inconvenienced my staff, you’ve inconvenienced my users, and I still don’t have the project done.
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So in that case, it’s not about getting the job done. It’s about how you got that job done.
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And now, you know, we can walk away from this after this, and there’s lessons to be learned from that. Okay. So the next time we engage, first of all, do we engage with this vendor again? Or do I give them a second chance at the next project? If we do, do I insist that they get in their head of time?
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Do we check all these things ourselves ahead of time? We can like we’ll do an after action analysis of this and figure out what went wrong, where it went wrong, and whose fault it was. And you do that not to point the finger at people. You do that so that this failure isn’t a failure entirely. You do that so that you can learn lessons from it.
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So based on that, it’s kind of important that we redefine failure. You know, failure isn’t always a yes or no. Did it get done? Didn’t it get done? And you can reframe that by using different synonyms than they talk in the research about several of these synonyms and how they apply. So the first they talk about is Navis.
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So when you’re new at something, success is less likely, just as you can’t set an expectation for a child to tie their shoes perfectly the first time or even the 10th time. You can’t avoid you can’t hold yourself to the standard of the expert when you’re a novice. So you kind of have to put things into perspective. Yeah.
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It’s the first time you’re doing this sort of upgrade. You have to expect issues.
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When you try something new, take a beginner’s mindset. Remind yourself that you’re a novice and give yourself chances to improve. That leads into a learning opportunity. Fear of failure is one of the strongest inhibitors of learning. We fail at 100% of the things we never try and we have a chance to learn at 100% of the things we fail in.
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So even if you fail at something, it doesn’t have to be a negative. If you can learn something from it. Mm hmm. And one thing that we’ve said on this podcast numerous times is that we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. That’s what makes them worthwhile.
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The next and we’ve addressed this on a podcast before, is perfectionism. If you have strong perfectionist streak, you may label things as failures that really aren’t. For example, you may make a mistake during a presentation at a high level meeting with a top organizational leaders. Despite excellent feedback from all in attendance, you fixate on that one moment that didn’t go exactly as planned.
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Wenger beating yourself up for past failure. Ask yourself, Have I actually failed? And I think a lot of times the things that you tend to beat yourself up on, you do it ahead of time. A lot of times you you work yourself up with these expectations of perfectionism. But when you take on those challenges, you more often than not succeed in them.
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And I think the thing that frustrates me is when I watch this is that the more you succeed at these things that you psych yourself out of, the more confident you should get. And that confidence tends to be not as forthcoming as I’d like it to seeing.
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What else do we have?
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There’s also systematic bias. Such biases are practices or beliefs embedded within a system that disadvantage different groups in the modern workplace, systematic bias process against people of color. They also persist against women, people with disability and the LGBTQ plus community. For many of them, it can be the root cause of their perceived failure There’s also ambiguity. Our worlds are increasingly ambiguous, ambiguous and unpredictable.
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Who can have anticipated a global pandemic would break roots in 2019 upend the world of work almost overnight. Avoiding failure is nearly impossible in some environments, particularly those that are highly highly volatile, uncertain, complex or ambiguous. When ambiguity is decreasing, the likelihood of a goal achievement, adjust, goal targets or pivot the business There’s also trial and error. A core principle of design thinking is the idea of sort of failing fast and learning from failure.
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This mindset embraces failure as a natural part of the creative process. Trial and error provide the opportunity to continuously make things better.
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This is a concept that is. It’s a philosophy that’s embraced a lot in the tech world, and you’ll hear people you know, Facebook has this philosophy in Google and it’s fail fast. So get out there with whatever this great idea is. Put it out there and if it fails, let’s fail quickly so we can correct it and move on.
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And we run into this, you know, in the development world, too. When we prototype, we come up with a new idea that we want to put out there for our users. And the first thing we usually wind up doing is we we theorized what we want to do and what the functions are going to be. And we figure out what what the pain points are the people have.
00:19:59:09 – 00:20:17:02
And then we’ll build a proof of concept. And what that lets us do is put that functionality out there in a limited fashion without investing too much development time. And you let people take a look at it and people are going to go out there, they’re going to poke around, they’re going to click on stuff and they’re going to play with it.
00:20:17:26 – 00:20:38:11
And if it falls flat on its face, that’s great. That’s exactly the time you want that to happen. Because that’s where you can correct things without it being too costly. If those failures happen after you go to production with stuff, then it becomes very expensive. To talk about. From an engineering standpoint, you know you’re in an engineering course right now.
00:20:39:03 – 00:21:06:25
What happens when you get out in the working world and maybe you’re an architect for a construction firm and your job is to build a building? Well, you want those failures to happen. On the first floor because when they happen on the first floor, they’re less costly, they’re less dangerous, you’re less likely to get people hurt then if they happen when the buildings of the 30th floor and problem start arising.
00:21:08:02 – 00:21:11:27
That’s why they say fail quickly. What else do we have.
00:21:12:19 – 00:21:40:14
We also have renewed motivation. Sometimes a small failure becomes the setback that sparks a renowned compliment to a goal or project. You may have consciously put the goal on autopilot or become distracted by other priorities. And finally, those being simply unfinished. The basic idea, something that looks failed or broken, may only be a missed representation of an unfinished process.
00:21:40:29 – 00:21:45:20
Step back and look at the longer term trajectory before declaring something failed.
00:21:45:25 – 00:22:17:20
Now, this is a great one for anyone who does personal project writing a story, making a movie, Let’s take your your movie that you were making that was an animated movie that you were doing stop motion animation. Do you ever finish it? No. But that doesn’t make it a failure, because how much have you learned of the creative process in going through and doing all that stuff?
00:22:18:10 – 00:22:24:21
A lot. A lot of, you know, characterization, plot points. And I wanted to change the story a decent amount.
00:22:24:23 – 00:22:48:14
Exactly. So even though the project never got finished, the knowledge that you took from that and the expansion of your artistic ability that came out of that is huge, which itself makes it a success. So that’s how you kind of have to recharacterize some of these things where, yes, I didn’t finish that movie and I failed to finish the movie.
00:22:48:14 – 00:23:16:13
But in making the effort that I made, I’ve learned so much more so and that’s kind of what they’re getting out here is that failures aren’t necessarily failures. If you’ve learned from them. And every time that you fail at something, it’s a chance for an education And that’s really what we focus on. We’re take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re going to take a look at success versus failure.
00:23:16:13 – 00:23:19:23
And do a little bit of comparison there. We’ll be right back.
00:23:28:07 – 00:23:58:15
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00:24:30:11 – 00:24:38:02
Welcome back to insights into teens today. Worst guessing about the today we were discussing about dealing with failure.
00:24:38:03 – 00:24:42:27
We’re discussing about failure anyway.
00:24:43:12 – 00:25:12:20
So now we’re going to talk about success versus failure. If the doesn’t and if the definition of failure is not achieving goal then does meeting a goal equals success. To some extent yes but that definition feels too confining. Success is psychologically bigger than goal achievement itself. And importantly, it is possible to feel like a successful person, even in the face of failure.
00:25:13:08 – 00:25:20:29
In our society, we don’t tend to acknowledge and appreciate the process of achievement. Instead, we make the feeling of success.
00:25:22:08 – 00:25:22:27
00:25:22:28 – 00:25:33:09
Contingent upon the outcome. It’s important to feel successful. When do you allow yourself to feel successful? If you make success.
00:25:34:15 – 00:25:35:05
00:25:35:07 – 00:26:02:03
Contingent only on achieving out achieving outcome goals, you might start to find yourself never feeling good enough. Instead, let’s consider an alternative definition of success where we allow ourselves to feel successful. For all the efforts we put forth rather than the outcomes. Success is knowing what you want out of life and feeling proud of yourself for investing in what is meaningful to you.
00:26:02:21 – 00:26:09:29
Success and failure can be highly subjective. A more open mindset may help you reframe your failure and success.
00:26:10:20 – 00:26:38:22
And this is kind of important when we’re talking about especially someone who has a sense of perfectionism. A lot of your perfectionism centers around absolute measures of success. You got that grade, you pass that test, you handed in that assignment and got a grade on it. And a lot of times. That’s really not an accurate assessment of success.
00:26:39:26 – 00:26:42:18
School’s not meant for you to get straight A’s.
00:26:43:06 – 00:26:43:18
00:26:44:01 – 00:27:16:09
School’s meant for you to fail some sometimes because there’s things in life where you you can’t necessarily succeed. So one of the things that school supposed to teach you is how to fail and how to fail gracefully. And how to survive failing. And if you pass everything that you do with flying colors, you’ll never learn that. And then when you’re out in the real world and you fail, it could be a crippling experience for you.
00:27:17:15 – 00:27:42:18
So one of the things that I do with my guys at work is I, I put them in situations where they can’t succeed. I’ll give them a goal that they can achieve. And the purpose of that is not to make them fail. It’s to see how they handle the failure, how they handle that pressure, how they learn how to work around the obstacles and it’s always a positive experience.
00:27:44:00 – 00:28:07:20
There are times in school that I question why we were learning things And Neil deGrasse Tyson, you know who he is now? He is an astronomer. He’s a very famous scientist. He’s on a lot of the documentaries that I watch and, you know, he’s on Twitter a lot and stuff. Very smart man. He hosted the series Cosmos, by the way, the revival of Cosmos.
00:28:07:20 – 00:28:36:25
Very good series. He was he put a statement out and fairly recently, and he talked about math in high school. And kids want to know, why don’t we have to learn calculus I’m never going to need to use it in my life. I’m going to go be an artist or whatever. I’ll never need calculus. And what he pointed out was that learning calculus, the ultimate outcome of that exercise was not to know how to do calculus.
00:28:36:25 – 00:29:08:09
When you were done It was the exercise of learning differently because as you learn different ways of learning, and math is a great example because every type of math out there uses a different part of your brain as you learn calculus. You’re training your brain how to work a different way. And it’s that training of your brain that turns on different things in your brain that allows you to deal with situations differently.
00:29:09:11 – 00:29:29:21
So you may never know need to know calculus when you get out of high school, but the things that you taught your brain to do when you learn calculus are problem solving skills you’re going to need in real life. And that’s what a lot of teenagers in high school students don’t realize. Yes, it may be stupid to read.
00:29:29:21 – 00:30:05:25
You may think it’s stupid to read Romeo and Juliet because it’s not a true love story because of various reasons. But in going through and reading the stories and understanding the language and the emotion and the various different things that reading that type of thing brings out, it’s unlocking different parts of your brain. You’re never going to have to probably ever quote Shakespeare again in your life, depending on what you do in college, but the different learning exercises that you go through.
00:30:06:09 – 00:30:17:05
You just got a project for this where you have to turn the balcony scene into a text message. Why? What is what’s the purpose of there?
00:30:17:25 – 00:30:22:12
It’s to show that we understand what the scene is trying to do.
00:30:23:15 – 00:30:59:02
Yes. But now it’s how to translate this complex set of emotions that are conveyed in the play into modern times. It’s almost an interpretive way of working through emotions that you might not otherwise have. The experience to work through. If you’re not dating anybody, you’re not confronted with these emotions. So you don’t you don’t feel them, you don’t experience and you don’t understand them necessarily when you go through a play like this.
00:31:00:03 – 00:31:34:27
The author in this case, Shakespeare, teaches you about these emotions through the words, through the phrases, through the actions. So it’s about teaching you about much more than just the words in the in the story. So that’s kind of what we we talk about here in that when you fail your failure becomes that educational experience where the next time that you have to do that challenge, you might fail, but you might feel for different reasons.
00:31:34:27 – 00:31:55:24
You’re not going to fail for the same reasons. And it teaches you how to deal with those hardships and those experiences because you’re not going to always succeed as perfect as you are in school. And as great as your grades are. When you get in the real world, there’s going to be obstacles that you can’t overcome. You’re going to need to be able to be equipped to handle those.
00:31:56:20 – 00:32:15:07
Everybody is. And that’s why a lot of times when they give you a test that you can’t pass. You know, my history teacher, you know, as much as I complained about them when I was in high school did this, he would give you a test on something you never talked about in school because he expected you to read the book even though you didn’t do it in class.
00:32:16:25 – 00:32:43:05
And when I failed those tests, I learned how to learn in his class. And it was tough. It was it was a it was a challenge up front. So the other thing that they do talk about are stages of failure. Over time, you may shift your focus to feeling successful from process outcomes. There’s three stages of failure and failure.
00:32:43:05 – 00:33:08:22
A vision is when you’re not clear about what you want on your person, on your personal why or your personal one where you don’t know what you want out of life. Or if you’re not feeling purpose and meaning in your life, then you might have a feeling of failure, of vision. This is we’re looking inward and focusing on your own well-being can make a difference.
00:33:10:14 – 00:33:38:29
Failure of tactics. This is when you know what you want, but you don’t have a clear or effective plan for achieving it. For instance, maybe you failed to complete a project because you only have a general sketch and not a master plan. Even those who are effective in strategic planning in the workplace sometimes struggle, especially when transition translating those skills into tactics for personal or leadership development.
00:33:40:06 – 00:34:15:29
This is where have a tracking and development can be very effective. Failure of strategy is when you have a plan and follow it, but still don’t know how to achieve your goal. An endless number of factors could be affecting your success. They may be related or unrelated to your plan. Failure strategy is an ideal moment to employee your design thinking skills, and yet working on the next iteration understanding why you feel failure can help you overcome challenges to your process outcomes.
00:34:16:24 – 00:34:44:17
Perhaps you’re simply unfinished from thinking through this will result in renewed motivation to achieve your process outcomes. Keep in mind that none of us can avoid failure all the time. That’s not the intent. We live in a world where our successes as individuals and teams depend on us learning more and faster to perform better If we aren’t failing, we probably aren’t taking enough risks.
00:34:45:08 – 00:34:58:02
Too often we kind of intellectually embrace experimentation and risk taking, but we want to do it efficiently and cleanly without failing. That’s not the intent.
00:34:59:08 – 00:35:24:18
The intent is to be resilient in the face of failures. A resilient person will use these strengths in service of goal achievement. The first is self-compassion. Show kindness toward yourself and others involved in the failure. Focus on empathy and creating the failure and and keeping the failure in perspective. There’s a difference between admitting failure and beating yourself up over it.
00:35:25:16 – 00:35:31:11
There’s also your content of cognitive cognitive and agility.
00:35:32:06 – 00:35:36:04
Cognitive, cognitive, cognitive agility, agility.
00:35:37:03 – 00:36:05:16
Be willing to quickly learn from failures and pivot to new opportunities. There’s also a growth and mindset. Take a learner’s approach with a non-judgmental stance. By default, we respond defensively or cast blame. Instead, reflect deeply and try to understand how to be different going forward. There’s also problem solving. Stay curious and creative. Collect data to inform decisions and next steps.
00:36:06:01 – 00:36:17:28
There’s also a purpose and meaning. Don’t have regrets Reconnect with the larger meaning behind the goal and use that to drive new approaches. And finally, we have a canonization.
00:36:17:29 – 00:36:18:22
00:36:18:23 – 00:36:30:08
Recognition. Appreciate the efforts that you and others have dedicated thus far. Feel successful by weighing the process as much as or more than the outcome.
00:36:31:17 – 00:36:52:13
And I think that kind of touches on all the points that I have talked about. There is and it’s a it’s a process, you know, failure failure is something that happens, but it’s something that we can turn into, something that’s constructive. And you can’t beat yourself up over fear. We’re going to take our last break here. We’re going to come back and we’re going to talk about learning from failure.
00:36:52:27 – 00:36:54:04
We’ll be right back. All right.
00:37:02:12 – 00:37:18:05
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00:37:20:16 – 00:37:56:22
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00:38:04:24 – 00:38:24:09
Welcome back to Insights into Teens. Today, we’re talking about dealing with failure. And now we’re going to talk about learning from failure. So as we always like to say, failure is a great teacher. It can be a valuable lesson for us in the long run. We should be able to examine it and take important lessons away from it.
00:38:24:26 – 00:38:34:28
Performing a failure analysis and looking at the root causes of our failure is a key way of learning from failure. This is partially true, as.
00:38:34:28 – 00:38:35:19
00:38:37:09 – 00:39:05:21
This is particularly true if you suffer a complex failure where the reason for failure may not be immediately clear. It’s nice to know what we are going what we are doing in our jobs or business. But failure feedback gives us something equally important a learning process or teachable moment about what we are doing wrong as well. Often small failures early on in the project can almost feel like an experiment.
00:39:06:00 – 00:39:10:11
These failures can create intervention that leads to future success.
00:39:12:07 – 00:39:44:28
This is one of the things that I do a lot at work where I have two different teams that report to me, and it’s my job to to point out not just failures, but where they can improve. So a lot of times I look like I’m overly critical. I appear overly critical. Sometimes to my my team. And I have one employee who who kind of hits accurately description on me and he says I’m firm, but fair I don’t unfairly criticize people.
00:39:44:28 – 00:40:09:07
I don’t nit pick, but areas that there can be improvement. Like, one of the things I try to do is I always try to empower my teams if they have to communicate with the users or with upper management. I prefer that they do it directly, but when they send that communication out, I’ll review it and I’ll give them pointers if I think there’s ways that they can make it better.
00:40:10:02 – 00:40:51:01
So the next time we have to do it, they can improve what they do. And I’m not micromanaging them. I trust my employees to do the things they they need to do in order to get their jobs done. But I’m there kind of as a as a teacher to help them tweak things, make things better think a little bit differently, approach things differently, rephrased things when there’s a technical problem and people come to me, we just had an incident this week where my one team had a server go down on them and they were kind of disorganized in how they were going about fixing it.
00:40:52:00 – 00:41:10:19
And they came to me and they gave me what their proposed solution was. And it was a valid solution. It just wasn’t one that would have been top of my priority list. So I kind of talk them through the process of what our priorities are, what we need to do first based on what we need to do first.
00:41:11:14 – 00:41:37:28
Let’s figure out what the best solution is to try first. And ultimately, we came up with four different options. Their solution was one of those options, but it was number three on that list. We never had to get to it because number two on my list turned out to be the solution. And we were able to get things back up and running, but it taught them that process of, okay, as servers down, it serves a certain function.
00:41:38:13 – 00:41:58:23
How do we fix this? How the prioritize a solution? They kind of did it, but they didn’t do it as effectively or as efficiently as I would have liked them to. Walking them through that process. They now have learned that. Did they fail to do their jobs? Absolutely not. They just learned a better way to do it in the long run.
00:41:59:04 – 00:41:59:12
00:42:00:26 – 00:42:35:21
So what we do after things like that is will perform a failure analysis. And there’s several different frameworks that you can use for failure analysis. One of the most popular is the FDA, the failure mode and effects analysis. Performing a failure analysis allows you to calculate the risk. Priority number, the RPN for a process and RPM is based on the severity occurrence, rate and detection rate of different challenges that may arise in your business processes.
00:42:36:08 – 00:42:59:12
One other thing that we add to our risk analysis is the overall impact. Is it affecting one user? Is it affecting a department? Is it affecting the entire company? Is it production down or is it mission critical production down, I should say? Is it an inconvenience? So it has to be an impact analysis along with it from our perspective.
00:43:01:00 – 00:43:40:29
So to perform a process failure analysis, there’s ten steps that you need to know. The first is to review the process brainstorm potential failure modes, the root causes of the problem list potential effects of each failure assign severity rankings, assign a current rankings, assigned detection rankings. We would then assign our impact analysis ranking calculate, calculate the risk priority number, develop an action plan, take action, calculate the resulting RPO and your risk priority number at that point in time.
00:43:40:29 – 00:44:06:23
And then the third thing that will do, or the last thing I should say that we would do is after the problems fixed, we’ll go back and do a deep dove on the process itself and we’ll figure out how what we can do in the future to either prevent that failure or improve the process itself and how we can be more efficient at solving that problem in the future.
00:44:07:18 – 00:44:20:01
And it’s not something that we’re going to change policies or anything. But that thought experiment itself is that educational feedback loop that we like to be. I like to keep my guys kind of working in all the time.
00:44:22:08 – 00:44:32:12
They say, if you want to take a more structured approach to learning from your model, these steps will guide you through the process. So what should we take away from failure?
00:44:32:21 – 00:45:05:00
Well, the biggest thing is probably that failure is not inherently bad. On the contrary, most failures provide amazing opportunities to gain new insights about yourself or your work, and some failures even create the opportunity to be triumphant. We are working and living in an increasingly ambiguous and fast changing systems. We will all have to get more comfortable with making mistakes and learning to fail better Learning to fail is a skill we can all practice.
00:45:05:17 – 00:45:40:22
And I’ll even add to that to not be afraid to fail everyone. If you’re afraid to fail and we talked about it earlier, then you’re afraid to take the risks necessary to elevate yourself to the next level. Now, I’m typically a pretty risk averse person myself, so before I take that risk, I’ll generally do a risk benefit analysis And that’s basically sitting down and figuring out if if I take this risk, is the benefit going to outweigh the potential for the detriment?
00:45:41:25 – 00:46:01:07
And if it is or if it’s a 50 50, I’ll probably go with the risk itself. And that’s sort of where we came up with those four solutions. For that server failure that we had this weekend. What are my risks? Okay. Well, my risk is this server is not going to come back up. It’s a hardware failure. We’re never going to get it back up.
00:46:01:07 – 00:46:22:10
We’re never going to get a backup of it. And that was really that was the determining factor in what direction we went because we didn’t have it in the backup system. So we had to get it back up in a certain way so that we could then take a backup of it. And then with that backup, we could do different we had different options So don’t be afraid to fail.
00:46:22:10 – 00:46:33:26
Everybody fails. Learn how to fail gracefully. Yeah, that’s the important thing. We’re going to take a quick break, come back and get your closing thoughts and shout outs if you have any.
00:46:34:03 – 00:46:34:15
00:46:40:15 – 00:47:03:01
All right. So the biggest takeaway is that, well, failure is a really great teacher. We’ve it’s honestly been a lesson that we’ve said in a lot of our podcasts at this point. And we finally dedicated an entire podcast to finally defining it and realizing that it really isn’t so black and white as most people would think of it as.
00:47:03:19 – 00:47:32:14
Again, we’ve mentioned how society genuinely thinks that failure is a bad thing and you shouldn’t be failing and should always strive for success. However, when you do actually fail, it’s normally a learning process and everybody’s going to fail. It’s not impossible to not fail. When you do fail, you should strive to get better. And like we always say, you learn more from failures than you do your successes.
00:47:32:22 – 00:47:56:26
Very good sage words as always. And I think that’s all we had for today. Before we do go, I would want to once again invite you to subscribe to the podcast you can find audio versions of this podcast listeners insights into teens. You can find video versions and audio versions of all of our podcasts listed as insights into things.
00:47:57:17 – 00:48:20:15
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00:48:20:29 – 00:48:43:14
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00:48:43:20 – 00:48:52:29
And don’t forget to check out all of the two podcast insights in the entertainment hosted by you in Miami and insights into tomorrow. Our monthly podcast hosted by you and my brother Sam.
00:48:53:01 – 00:48:55:11
Well done. That’s it. Another one in the book by.
00:48:55:11 – 00:48:55:23
00:48:55:26 – 00:48:56:12