The Gift of Failure

“You learn the most from the hard times.” This was the response MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo gave when a reporter pressed him about his poor results the previous year. In interviews after he had won the championship, he reiterated that without the lessons he learned in the previous year and even years before, he would not have been prepared to win that year.

The Gift of Failure

If you watch the MotoGP practice and test sessions, you will see lots of crashes.

It’s expected that the racers will wreck. Why? If they don’t push past the limit of the tires or setup of the bike, how will they know how much they can push? If they don’t ever find that limit, how will they know that they’ve squeezed every bit of performance out of the package? I recall watching practice sessions one race weekend and Fabio was constantly wrecking at Turn 2. He was gaining knowledge. That was not a usual place to overtake. Others wouldn’t expect to be passed there. During the race he was equipped with the knowledge he needed to be able to take advantage of passing where others couldn’t and didn’t expect to be passed.

Are you failing? Are you stopping when you fail?

What's your appetite for risk?

If you aren’t failing, you aren’t taking enough risks. You’re playing it safe and you won’t grow nearly as strong or as quickly as you could by taking risks and learning from them.

If you stop every time you fail, you aren’t learning the lessons. The lesson may be to change how you’re doing something, or the frequency, or an indication that you need to pivot or hire more staff, or, or, or…. How you respond to failure determines your level of success. Every time you hit an obstacle, or something goes wrong, pause. Step back and maybe even reach out to a mentor or consultant. These are opportunities for learning and growth.

When the world shut down, how many businesses shuttered their doors? How many looked for opportunities and pivoted? From manufacturers who retooled to make ventilators, to others who started making PPE, they grew. Professional speakers’ businesses ground to a halt. Some, however, saw the opportunity and quickly pivoted to presenting virtually. The speaking profession has changed and the speakers who seized the opportunity in the challenge have seen tremendous growth in their businesses.

In banking they talk about a lender’s appetite for risk. Lending is inherently risky. If the lender’s criteria are too conservative their pool of potential borrowers is too small. If their criteria are too lax, they will experience a high level of default. Where is that sweet spot? Where is your sweet spot? What is your appetite for risk?

They say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

What is your appetite for risk? If you aren’t taking enough risks you’re going to miss opportunities.

Are you taking the time to study your challenges and failures? If not, you’re missing out on the Gift of failure.