I have watched with interest the coverage from three events run by my old friends at Commshero. The theme of the conferences was ‘dare to fail’ which was an interesting subject. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend but the idea of failing is one that doesn’t fit well with modern life. Perhaps it is time that we all need to give failure a make-over and a bit of positive PR.
This is about dealing with adversity and the perspective we take when things don’t work out. I haven’t yet met a PR or communication professional who has done something with the desire for it to go wrong. We are all looking to get results and do the right thing for our clients, organisations or businesses. But how many of us are comfortable with saying this didn’t work so we are going to learn from it and do this instead? Very few I imagine.
From a young age we are taught to learn from our experiences. If we go to close to the fire we get burnt and so we build our knowledge through what we learn. We go to school and the learning continues from the experiences of people throughout history. However, when we get from education into the world of work, and particularly the world of communication, we expect to always get things right.
We are rarely judged on getting things wrong or failing, but we will be judged on how we deal with it and what we do as a result. If we keep failing or making the same mistakes then quite rightly questions will be asked. However, we can use failure as a chance to develop and become better at what we do. We can use it to reflect and learn so that we have built on our experiences.
Failure is such a negative word. Perhaps we should ban it from discussions about activity and results instead we can talk about the learning to take forward. So perhaps rather than ‘dare to fail’ it should have been ‘dare to learn, develop and move on’.