The value of failing forward
I’m reading an interesting book called Rebounders by Rick Newman. He provides case studies of people who are very resilient and choose to use failures to learn from their mistakes. In other words, they fail forward. Obviously this is a desirable trait for a business owner to have. He defines rebounders as the following:
Rebounders know how to solve problems and overcome setbacks, often because they’ve done it before. So they tend to react with calm determination, and even a sense of humor, when something goes wrong. They’d rather solve problems than complain about them or blame someone else. They treat small challenges just as they would big ones, sweating the details and applying them care to get it right. They analyze their mistakes and learn from them, and change their mind from time to time, when new information turns out to be better than old information.
Not every business owner is a rebounder, but its possible to cultivate these skills, provided you can learn to step out of your usual perspective and recognize when you are holding yourself back with a limiting belief or attitude. We all have moments where we fail, but if we learn how to use that failure to push us to learn, we can turn those failures into success, even if its success down the line.
I’ve failed more than a few times in my life and business, but each time has taught me to avoid becoming complacent and to look for solutions or make changes so that I’m not stuck in a rut. Any business owner can learn this as long as they can accept that success isn’t a constant and that failing can actually be beneficial. It depends on your attitude, because its easy to take failure personally. But failure isn’t something that has to be personal. Failure is an indicator that you made a mistake or that your process was flawed, but that’s all it is. You can control your response to failure by accepting it for what it is and using it to help you succeed by not making the same mistake and by looking at what else you can improve or change in your business or process that you didn’t the first time around.
Failing forward gives you permission to fail and use it for your success. Don’t let it discourage you. Accept it for what it is: An indicator that change is needed.