“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” ~J. K. Rowling
While watching the Blood Moon eclipse this morning I was reminded about an experience I had this past weekend. Perhaps that was due to the fact that it was dark and peaceful outside, and my mind was allowed to wander. Whatever the reason though, I wondered again, why the word “failure” strikes fear into the hearts many.
One of the things I enjoy doing in my personal life, is to lead future generations through the lessons taught in scouting. I am a scout leader for both of my children – Boy Scouts as well as Girl Scouts. Lessons in failure, perseverance and overcoming obstacles are commonplace. So too, are those lessons about winning. So when sitting in an adult training session last weekend, we were asked, “What types of things make for a successful outing?” One of my answers was ,”Sometimes I have allowed the kids to fail, and in doing so I may illustrate some of the pillars of scouting.” (Which happen to also be life lessons.)
The room fell silent, and I received many icy stares which caused a cold rush of fear to wash over me. The reactions throughout the room were pretty amazing. The facilitator then icily responded, “We don’t call it failure, we call it learning from mistakes.”
Yes that is true, however there is nothing wrong with using the word failure. Would I use that word with the kids? Probably not, but a failure is still the opportunity to learn and can be a fun challenge to overcome. I realized this morning that the same can be said in business. Failure is not a dirty word in marketing!
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
So many times clients are put off when hearing the word “failure”, when they really shouldn’t. Marketing failure is going to happen. Whether you are creating a new ad strategy, trying something new on social media, running new creative or creating a new brochure, there will be hits and misses.
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” ~ Bill Gates
Failure only happens when we give up. Failure happens when we don’t learn from our mistakes. Failure in marketing happens only when we walk away without tweaking the creative. Yes one could say simply stating that “learning from our mistakes” should be used, or that we can use the term “challenges”, “obstacles” or otherwise, but the word “failure” should not be considered a dirty word. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!
Do you think that “failure” should be banished as a word used in business?
“You make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make you.” ~Maxwell Maltz