OK, we (maybe I) preach about failure all the time. I’m always telling you girls that success is built on failure, and I’m sure I’ve already banged on enough about the story of how I cried and cried thanks to my very last ditch effort at becoming a writer falling flat. But I shouldn’t have. Failure is just a kick-in-the-butt to try harder. It still feels a little sore, though.
The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, knows all about those failures. She turned $5,000 into a billion with her business, so she’s seen her fair share of failures. But she was raised to think about them differently.
She told Business Insider, “Growing up my father used to ask my brother and me what we’d failed at at the dinner table. Which was so interesting. And he’d celebrate it. And he’d actually be disappointed if I didn’t have something that I’d failed at that week.”
Her father would encourage her to share the things she had tried that had gone horribly, and would high five her for every failure she had. Which caused her to think differently about failure.
She said “So many people don’t take risks for fear of failure. They don’t start the business, they don’t go create the art they wanna create, or they don’t go try out to be in the play or whatever it is, for the fear of failure.”
“My dad would encourage me any time something didn’t go the way I’d expected…to write down where the hidden gifts were.”
Indeed, Sara would find every failure had a lesson, and she applied that to managing her team at Spanx. Always sharing her failures and the ‘oops’ moments with her team and learning to laugh about them.
Maybe we can take a huge lesson from that and encourage our children, siblings, friends and ourselves to start thinking differently about failure and give out some high fives for failing like a champ!
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