In failure we often take a hit and quit. That’s an over developed sense of pride getting in our way. I’ve learned the most from actually sticking around with the outcome of failure. Living in it a little bit to learn from it. Leaning into it versus letting my flight instinct control me.
I recently read a great article by James Clear called The Three Stages of Failure in Life and Work (And How to Fix Them). In it, James frames the type of failures we make so we can learn about them. The three stages are:
Stage 1 is a Failure of Tactics. These are HOW mistakes. They occur when you fail to build robust systems, forget to measure carefully, and get lazy with the details. A Failure of Tactics is a failure to execute on a good plan and a clear vision.
Stage 2 is a Failure of Strategy. These are WHAT mistakes. They occur when you follow a strategy that fails to deliver the results you want. You can know why you do the things you do and you can know how to do the work, but still choose the wrong what to make it happen.
Stage 3 is a Failure of Vision. These are WHY mistakes. They occur when you don’t set a clear direction for yourself, follow a vision that doesn’t fulfill you, or otherwise fail to understand why you do the things you do.
How we made the failure, what caused it in the first place, and why the mistake happened is simpler to understand. We won’t take the forethought it takes to break it down like that.
Instead, we look at each in a very black and white, “matter of fact” way. Framing it up like so:
“How could I have made that mistake I am so stupid?”
“What was I thinking I cannot do this?”
“Why did I even decide to do this, I am an idiot?”
You misdiagnose your reasons for going after it in the first place. Not to much longer, you’ve left it behind.
Studying our failures and learning from them can tell us a lot. Taking failure each time it happens by scrutinizing the how, what, and why will become a catalyst for success. Not the end of the road as we often take it to be.
Take some time and read James Clear’s full article. You will find it here:
Take some of your failures through the same reflection stages to find out where it went wrong. Your at the end of Jan. How’s your resolutions coming along? Get back on the horse. The week is starting and it’s a new beginning.