Failure is a fearsome word. Though part of being human means making mistakes and experiencing failure, it is easy to spend your life running from it. Though this method of living may keep you safe from failure, it also keeps you from learning the valuable lessons that failure teaches you. Because of this, the Office of Innovation set out to reframe the experience of failure by donning the motto “Celebrate Failure.” For the key to growing is to spend less energy trying not to fail and more energy assessing failures to learn from them.
Embrace the risk
One of the scariest things about taking risks and trying new things is the chance of failure that comes along with it. You can’t guarantee success when trying something that has never been done before. But you also can’t grow by staying inside the boundaries of what you know. Instead of running from risk because it could end in failure, see each risk you take as an opportunity to learn something new. Whether it turns out as you hoped it would or not, you have learned something new that will inform your future situations and help set you up for success moving forward.
Remember you are not your mistakes
Though it may be easy to feel that you are a failure when you experience failure, your works are separate from who you are. We are lucky to believe in a Jesus whose death on the cross was a declaration that all of our shortcomings are separated from our worth. Because of this, you have the freedom to step out bravely and try new things without knowing the outcome, knowing that your value is not defined by what you do.
Take on humility
One of the biggest challenges of celebrating failure is laying down the pride that holds you back. Pride naturally tells people that success is defined by perfection. Failure has no place with a facade of pride because it dispels the myth that you have it all together. Taking on humility means being willing to take risks and make mistakes because you have no need to prove yourself to others.
A spirit of Innovation
Innovation is closely tied to failure because it requires so much trial and error to get things right. Though it may be ideal to have a new innovative idea and get it right the first time, it is more likely than not that putting your plan into motion will take a few tries. Though every time you try something new it may not turn out perfectly, you are gaining so much new information that will help make your next idea more successful. This is what innovation is all about — trying new things and learning along the way what it takes to get it right.
Whatever area of your life you may be experiencing failure in, the truth remains the same that you can grow and learn from your mistakes. The only true failure is letting failed attempts hold you back from continuing to try new things and put yourself out there. Next time you find yourself less than satisfied with how something turned out, take a step back and remember to let what you learned carry you forward instead of holding you back.
Learn more about Biola’s Office of Innovation.
Written by Lindsey Hayden, Operations and Marketing Coordinator for the Office of Innovation.