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Last Updated on December 3, 2020

13 Reasons Why You Should Fail Fast to Learn Fast

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13 Reasons Why You Should Fail Fast to Learn Fast

It’s normal to view failures as negative impacts that have detrimental consequences. In actuality, failing is as natural of a process as succeeding is. In any profession, failure means giving yourself more opportunities to grow, to develop, and to truly learn something new. One of my favorite quotes that changed my mindset is:

Growth and comfort do not coexist.

To grow means you’re willing to take risks and evolve. The only way to evolve and change is to fail. You’re probably thinking, Wait, I thought success allows you to evolve? The answer is still yes; success promotes evolution and change. However, to reach that point, you must experience numerous failures with the goal of revealing a bigger picture.

When I reflected on my past failures, I realized something: They didn’t destroy or abolish me. In fact, they were like primers preparing me for a second chance.

Failures promote mental, emotional, and even physical growth. We forget that in any given situation, a second chance or opportunity is available in the future. Only if we apply ourselves will we be able to access this new way of thinking.

As a creative individual, I used to view failure as an end-all-be-all. I’d often kick myself if I screwed something up or acted on impulse. We want our success to happen now—fall from the sky and into our laps this minute. The reality is, anybody who has become successful also experienced numerous failures. And that’s why they’re successful: trial, error, retrial, and then success.

At the retrial stage, you should’ve learned something from your error or failure. Like anything in life, if we give power to our failures, we’ll never do it again, and it’s a fatal response. Never trying again is giving in to the negativity of failing at something. You may feel the loss is too significant.

Really, failures can be blinding and discouraging. They can cause us to lose sight of our goals and aspirations. Accepting that failure is a part of every success story is a stepping stone toward achieving the goals you so desperately want to achieve.

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Author Elizabeth Gilbert said transformations can only happen in ruins. Therefore, let your work and life fall apart if necessary, so that you can reshape and repurpose everything. While in ruins, incredible things begin to reform. And if you view failure as falling into ruins, perhaps this article will help shift your mindset.

I’m going to break down why failure is a good, positive and enriching thing and help you transform your mindset about it. Here are the 13 reasons why you should fail fast:

1. A New Route Is Created From Failure

Failing should be viewed as an opportunity to create a new route. If you feel that you failed at something, journal about it or do some self-reflecting and see what emerges. Instead of giving up after a failure, create another route or path and try again. You’ll gain new insights and a different direction that could get you out of a creative block or a jam.

Sometimes life diverts our path, and we must adapt. Failures may divert our paths, too, so it’s crucial to adapt and embrace them. Thinking and approaching it that way will lead you somewhere different, often to a new and better outcome.

2. You Learn to Identify What Works

Just about every field or industry you go into or are in, failing should help you identify what works and what doesn’t.

Once you’ve figured out why something didn’t manifest, you’ll have another chance to do something in a different way. There is beauty in trying something again and realizing what you did wrong previously. This is when evolution starts to take shape.

3. You Gain New Knowledge in Your Craft or Work

Failures don’t have to equal loss. Rather, they can be gains.

To reach a certain point in your career, you must fail in order to gain new knowledge or perspectives. Creative or not, failures expand our minds and encourage growth. The next time you find yourself in a situation when you’ve said, “Gosh, I dropped the ball on that one,” follow that with an affirmation.

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Give yourself permission to gain something beneficial. Thus, failure can’t be perceived as a setback, and instead, it’ll be a leap toward success.

4. You Set Yourself up for a Second Chance

Failures can only set you up for second chances. Quitting is the most fatal thing you can do. It won’t promote growth. It will result in depletion of motivation, drive, and discipline. Granted, at the moment, a failure can be difficult to digest.

Remind yourself there are other chances and opportunities. Failures can only set us up for success in the future, but it may take a lot of reminding that a second chance is available to you.

5. You Get Thicker Skin

Another benefit when you fail fast is that you’ll develop thicker skin. This thick skin will keep you emotionally neutral and balanced. You’ll be prepared to tackle any challenges that come your way.

Mindset is everything in any given situation where failure occurs. See it as a skin thickening agent, and you’ll be more equipped and resilient farther down the road.

6. You Will Build Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience[1] means you don’t go bat crazy after you’ve dropped the ball or something didn’t work out. How you respond to situations, events, and failures determines where you’ll wind up in the future.

People remember reactions the most, and reacting irrationally will only work against you. Bouncing back emotionally can be rough, depending on the circumstance. However, the less time you spend consumed in negativity and “why me?” self-loathing, the quicker you’ll move forward to those great things you wish to achieve.

7. You’ll Inspire Others

Someone near and dear to me said the perfect thing at the perfect time when I felt that I’d failed at something. They told me that I should fail fast and often because, then, my story would be even more inspiring.

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Before any entrepreneur or corporate worker reached their destination, they failed dozens and dozens of times. There are authors, such as J.K. Rowling, who were rejected again and again before they became authors. Nobody became somebody without failing first. Don’t forget that.

8. A New Way of Organizing Develops After Failure

Preparation and organization are key ingredients one needs to be successful. The good news is that a failure forces us to reorganize and restructure our work lives.

Through a new organization and structure, a new sense of self will form. You’ll be compelled to reboot your workspace and any area in your professional life that feels cluttered or in disarray. This new change will enhance curiosity and be another key element in moving forward.

9. Failure Resets Your Focus

After I experienced major letdowns, I noticed a shift in my focus. That’s not to say my focus wasn’t there before, but my second time around, my attention to detail was sharpened and more precise. Only with fresh lenses are we able to visualize a clearer path toward where we need to go.

Failures can be powerful forces capable of rewiring our minds, thoughts, and actions. Resetting your focus means finding a new way of approaching a situation in your work life that you might have initially overlooked.

10. Failure Strengthens Your Mindset

A stronger mindset provides emotional stability and balance, especially when everything hits the fan. In life, setbacks and failures are a part of human nature and growth. Leonardo Da Vinci, a man who was 500 years ahead of his time, is known more for his failures than successes—what he dared to imagine and bring to fruition is what he’s famous for, whether his inventions worked out or not.

You’re not known for what you do; rather, you’re known for the kind of person you are: curious, a risk-taker, someone who persevered and remained strong regardless of how disappointing things became. A curious mind is one that is willing to keep exploring, keep building, and doing so without fear of failure attached.

11. You’ll Experience a Transcendence

The word transcendence means “existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level.” Philosophers describe transcendence as a climb beyond. The difference between failure and success is what we choose to take from both[2].

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Only failure allows such a divine transcendence to manifest, and this manifestation happens in our minds. Only failure can lead us toward a change that will result in something monumental and life-altering.

12. Failure Leads to Mastery

No matter what field you’re in, trial and error is basically a science experiment. It’s a process of trying and failing. The willingness to keep trying results in mastering your craft. Individuals in creative and technical jobs must undergo this process daily.

As a creative person, I’m constantly testing something out and redoing it later. It wasn’t until recently when I realized I was mastering my craft and learning from deconstruction as opposed to constructing. Every time I’ve had to start over or redo something, by the second trial, I’ll nail it.

13. Failure Encourages Mental and Emotional Growth

Failures also result in mental and emotional growth. Curiosity drives us to explore, do more, solve problems and find solutions in our work lives. Our failures grant us an empowering dose of mental extension. Our thoughts and perceptions of failures and successes strengthen in this growing period.

If we perceive failure as an end-all-be-all, we’re robbing ourselves of an enriching transformation.

The Bottom Line

Instead of striving to be the next big thing or success, fail fast and often. A whole array of benefits comes from failure.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed a conflict amongst humanity that is overlooked: People fear success as much as they fear failure. In reality, failure is not something you should be afraid of—it’s a learning curve. If you take the time to reflect on everything you’ve viewed as a disastrous failure, you might be pleasantly surprised when you realize it wasn’t so disastrous after all. It got you somewhere.

Failure is the key ingredient that will unlock all kinds of life-altering experiences. Don’t resist or live in fear of something that can only bring you to the place you desire to go.

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More About How to Fail Fast

Featured photo credit: Kelli McClintock via unsplash.com

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Tessa Koller

Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

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Published on October 14, 2021

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.

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“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.

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Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”

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Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”

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“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via unsplash.com

Reference

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