Failure: a state of inability to perform a normal function; lack of success; a failing in business; a falling short. (Webster's Dictionary tells us.)
My, how our collective perception of failure has evolved over the last decade! This seismic shift in perception became a part of my consciousness about six years ago, when I attended a panel on the subject. I'd heard about failure, at least in my sphere of work, as a chance to find meaning where there once was none and as a second chance to success. Failure has long been regarded as a learn-the-hard-way teacher, but it is now increasingly seen as invaluable. It's arguably a modern badge of honor. It actually seems…trendy.
I look at failure much more inquisitively now. It's almost impossible not to dwell on their failures just the same, and I've failed enough times now to know it's a feedback loop for each one of us, a scenario to learn from. Apart from the immediate disappointment failure drops on us, it is actually an opportunity to learn. Defining concepts like failure might seem abstract at first, and yet our individual notion of it really shapes our lives.
Following are three ways to look at failure at varying degrees of positivity. I listen to clients to see if they are falling within these categories of failure or if we can get them there. See if any naturally apply to you or feel comfortable.