By Brandon Cangany, CPA
Manager, Tax Services
Failure is a touchy topic. Many people, especially young and hungry professionals, don’t like to think of it as a possibility in this “can-do culture.” But in the business world, people are vulnerable to failure on all levels — from new employees and frontline team members to managers, executives and the owners up at the top.
Many think of failure as getting knocked out in a boxing match. They think it kills momentum. But it could be a sign that they’re not pushing themselves far enough. You need to get up and learn from the times you are knocked down, not out!
As leadership expert John C. Maxwell wrote in his book, Failing Forward, “If you’re not failing, you’re probably not really moving forward.” In other words, you’re not stretching yourself to grow. When you rip apart at the seams is when you learn what NOT to do on the path toward success. It’s when you learn the most about yourself and your team. You realize each other’s limits and where you show the most potential.
Your failure isn’t a setback or a sign of a wasted effort. It’s an opportunity for a comeback and a chance to learn. As Maxwell also wrote, “Failing forward is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake and move forward in a better direction.”
Look at how McDonald’s and Taco Bell picked themselves up during the pandemic. When their indoor dining areas closed, they streamlined their menus to simplify kitchen operations, increase speed of service and focus on items best suited for carryout and delivery.
A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. No matter where you are on the career ladder, failure isn’t a defeat; it’s a chance to learn, improve and thrive. In the business world, battle scars show that people took risks and gained experience and knowledge. As hardened rock star Henry Rollins said, “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength and move on.”