Embracing Failure


Who hasn’t failed, and who will never fail again? Nobody I hang with.

At Solution Tree we do everything we can to avoid failing, but when it happens we accept it.  In-fact I want us to embrace failure.  Sounds kind of weird I’m certain, but how else can we learn if we don’t try new things?  And when you try new things, you’re bound to fail sometimes.

Can you recall your first attempt to ride, or teach a child how to ride, a bike. I clearly remember one attempt of teaching Charlotte, our oldest daughter. Holding on to the seat, running behind spouting epic words of encouragement, and letting go while still encouraging.  Then kicking into a full sprint after her, as she left the sidewalk and careened down a hill directly towards an immovable Oak Tree.  Kind of a dual failure on that one, but only one of us made a bad decision.  Unwillingly, Sweet Charlotte helped me out by crashing prior to tree-impact.



Back to Solution Tree. If someone tries something new, and has gone through the right steps to give themselves the greatest possible chance for success, and it doesn’t work out…forgive but don’t forget. And when I say don’t forget, it by no means is in a negative, vindictive, or in a grudge holding way. If we take the time to remember what steps were taken prior to achieve the failed results, who wasn’t involved in giving council, then complete an After Action Review (AAR) to have clarity and identify ways to improve our processes, then we move forward.

For instance, there was an event I championed in 2011, Author Speak, which was a financial DISASTER. Author Speak had a lot of great attributes, the concept was sound, and the 70+ authors, and the few paying attendees that were there, LOVED it. Heck I loved it.  It is in my top 3 all time favorite Solution Tree events.  When we analyzed the results, did an AAR, looked at the current market needs and our own internal abilities, Author Speak 2012 just didn’t makes sense.  Nor did 2013, 2014 or 2015. But wow did we learn a lot from the experience, and have used so many of those lessons to help us successfully design and launch multiple new events.

So in a perfect world at Solution Tree, or in life, we shouldn’t even be frustrated by our mistakes. We relive, AAR, learn, outline strategies and alternatives, and move forward with a sound informed decision.

So, we do in-fact embrace failure at Solution Tree…but only once.

BTW, if Char had headed for that tree a second time, my wife would have had a different type of AAR with me.