What is it about our culture that some people are so keen to fail while others aren’t? The ability to cast off from the shore with the full ability that you may sink is a trait many envy. I envy it.
In Silicon Valley, failure has become somewhat of a badge of honor. A startup founder who was willing to move on his idea, though it didn’t gain traction, still holds value to venture capitalists and the industry at large.
The reality is, it’s not the failure that’s impressive, but rather the willingness to take a risk, to expose your brainchild to the evaluation of your peers (and complete strangers) and put it all on the line. Those people who are confident enough in themselves and their skills are willing to risk having nothing in order to have it all, and more importantly, to make something that matters; something that lasts.
I struggle every day with my fear of failure. I find myself afraid to speak my mind, share my thoughts, write a personal blog post, embark on my own. Working for a startup has eased that. I’m better at sharing ideas that may fail. In fact, many of my ideas do fail, but that makes the ones that stick much stronger.
As designers, we have to see failure as an opportunity. We must be willing to expose ourselves to criticism and change. To know that version A-L may not be accepted, but version M will be phenomenal. By being willing to fail, we are constantly pushing ourselves forward.
Flexibility, combined with a strong foundation, makes us more resilient. The next time you’re facing a tough situation, feeling threatened, or standing your ground, pause. Consider whether flexibility may help you around the conflict.