Many times we want to forget the missteps we’ve had in our leadership journey. We’d rather talk about our successes. Failures can sometimes feel like huge weights on our shoulders, but they don’t have to be. Instead we can choose to use our failures as wings.
When a baby bird grows into maturity, the mama bird will stir the nest with her beak to make the bedding of straw, leaves, moss, and yard debris less comfortable. This is a signal to nature that it’s time for the babies to leave the nest.
As the baby birds are roused out of their comfort zone, the mama bird lovingly nudges them to the edge of the nest. When the time is right, the mama bird pushes the baby off the edge into flight.
Sometimes, the baby is not ready to fly and begins to plummet to the ground, but the mama swoops in just in time to catch it and place it back in the nest. Later, she goes through this nudging routine again, until the baby at last falls and then flies.
Failures are like a baby bird’s first flight experience. Sometimes we attempt projects that we’re not quite ready for. We have to retreat, or sometimes be rescued to live another day, giving us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.
The key to falling successfully into your failures is learning from them. Here are 5 common causes in leadership adapted from the classic Napoleon Hill book “Think and Grow Rich:”
1. Inability to organize details. Leaders must have a vision for the big picture without abandoning the details to get them to success.
2. Unwillingness to render humble service. True leaders are willing to do the work necessary to get the job done. That might mean speaking with unhappy customers instead of relying solely on staff to handle the unpleasant tasks.
3. Expectation of pay for your they “know” instead of what they do with that which they know. It’s not enough to be super smart if that knowledge is not used for the good of the business.
4. Fear of competition from followers. Competition is good. It keeps your sharp and on your toes. In the case of the thrift business, I’ve found that competition in this industry increases the public’s desire for thrifted items and everyone wins.
5. Lack of imagination. Imagination is the twin of innovation. Without imagination there is no creativity or desire to do more or be more efficient and effective.
So give yourself a loving nudge to the edge and don’t be afraid to fall into your failures so that you fly into the realm of success.