Discussing failure tends to make us uncomfortable.
Because we feel vulnerable. Judged based on the perceived dichotomy of success versus failure. I want to challenge you to reconsider how you think of failure.
Close your eyes and imagine this scene.
You are standing on beach, listening to the waves roll in and crash on the shore in front of you. You can feel and smell the salt floating on the sea breeze as it ruffles your hair. Your feet are in the sand right where the ocean rolls up to meet your toes. You feel the grit and subtle sinking of the sand below you. You take steps forward into the ocean to swim and suddenly, a large wave knocks you down, under the water. Your eyes burn from the salt, sand is swirling by your face and nose. You are under the water and feel the warning signs of panic setting in as you move to get your bearings. The increased heart rate, the desire to take a precious breath of air, the recognition that at this moment, you are not sure which direction is up or down.
At this moment, you must make a choice. To stand-up and do whatever it takes to get back on your feet, or drown.
In reality, you know the decision. You reach and find the sand, get your feet under you and stand up. Deep breaths fill your lungs and you now you are faced with another decision. Do you continue onward, smarter, more aware of the waves and how they impact you? Or, do you return to shore?
Failure is much like getting knocked down by the waves. It can leave us scared, vulnerable and even breathless. Yet, we must decide. Do we stand up on our feet again or stay down? What we do after failure defines us, not the failure itself.
Further, resiliency is the decision of facing the next wave, being smarter, stronger and more prepared. Sure, we could return to shore, but then what have we learned? How have we grown?
Stand up, step forward and swim.