Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Power of Failure. How to Turn a Mistake into a Positive Experience.

I love constructive feedback. To me, having someone help me see my weaknesses is akin to finding ways to get  better at what I do. I am not a glutton for punishment; I enjoy compliments as much as the next person. However, I think when I fail - as long as I face it with the right attitude - I become better during my next attempt. Here are some ideas on how to turn your failures into a learning experience.

Take an Outside Look at Your Actions
I often find myself surrounded by finger-pointers. When something goes wrong there are few people willing to step forward and admit to a mistake or failure, they instead get defensive. Try to separate your feelings when you respond to a mistake. Look at your actions from the outside, evaluate your actions as though they were made by someone else, and acknowledge your failure without trying to self-justify.

Actually Listen to Other People's Feedback
When we don't like the negative things that people tell us, we tend to dismiss them or chalk them up to the other person's shortcomings. Practice actually hearing criticisms from others and practice listening to that criticism without taking it personally. Ask questions of your critic to find out how they think you can do things differently the next time. Use this information to find ways that you can improve.

Surround Yourself with Informed, Trustworthy Peers
We all enjoy praise, but I only want sincere kudos that I have earned. Gather a trusted "advisory board" of peers that will give you honest feedback on when you have succeeded, when you have failed, and why they feel this way. Having the honest, frank and compassionate opinion of people you trust is an invaluable way to ensure you keep growing.

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