Failure is NOT a Bad Word!

Failure is a word that is wrapped with so many negative connotations.  We grow up being told that failure is the WORST thing possible. You “FAILED” your class! You are nothing but a “FAILURE”! You “FAILED” me! Growing up with these descriptions being ingrained into our DNA there is no wonder why we run from failure and stay as far away from it as possible.

Unfortunately our fear of failure actually creates the very thing that we are trying to avoid.  We “FAIL” to become what we could because we don’t let “FAILURE” stretch us towards our potential.  Here is what you must understand… You will make mistakes and you cannot let them turn into regrets because the reality is they are actually possibilities. 

Our mistakes are just opportunities for us to learn from the past and confidently step into the next phase of our journey with more knowledge of where we are going.

Our mistakes also stretch us beyond our comfort zones.  Brad Lomenick said it best in his book H3 Leadership, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Choose courage over comfort”.  We never truly reach our potential as individuals and as an organization unless we are willing to get out of our own heads, face our fears, and courageously try new things.

As leaders it is our responsibility to champion this type of thinking and encourage our team to step out of the box and try new things.  What is the worst that can happen?  Really? You may take a few step backs, but that is just giving you a running start!

My biggest fear is that I will let my success of today be my demise of tomorrow because I let the comfort of familiarity hold me back from moving forward.  Now I don’t mean that you should change everything, but I do believe as a team you need to ask yourselves a few honest questions.

1. What is not working?
What is just not working in your organization or your church? What takes up a lot of time, but you are not really seeing the fruit of the investment? What feels stale or old?  What are you just not excited about? Or what is a major hole or opportunity you are missing?  Be completely honest and allow that from your team.

2. What is something I want to try, but I am nervous about?
What is an idea you have been mulling around that you want to step out in faith to do, but for some reason or another you won’t pull the trigger?  Maybe it’s a teaching element in your services, maybe starting a blog, maybe a financial or a marriage campaign, maybe restructuring some systems or programs, maybe adding another campus, maybe a video series, or maybe it is adding a staff member.  As a leader we must be thinking of whats next and sometimes we have step out of our comfort even when we feel nervous.  Now I am not saying to blindly pull the trigger and hope for the best, but I am saying that staying put and never moving forward eventually leads to a declining organization!

3. Who are you empowering?
Are you giving your team the authority and the confidence that they can run their departments successfully or are you micromanaging and hovering over your team?  When someone is always watching you and waiting for you to fail it demoralizes you and you will always live up to those expectations.  However, when someone gives you their support and they express how much they believe in you it builds a confidence and resolve that is priceless.  I tell my team all the time to take a risk and go for it because what is the worst that can happen?  Maybe we fail, but in that we learn from our mistakes and we lead our teams through it.  Leaders take problems and turn them into solutions and when you express that kind of support in your people they will always rise above the challenge!

Failure is not a bad word and stretching yourself is the only way to grow.  So start growing, start learning, and realize a failure is just a step in the right direction when you have the right mindset!