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  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

Permission to Fail

Cupcake upside down on floor.

We’ve never been taught to experiment with failure. We’ve been taught that there is no room for failure which is a hard (and limiting) belief to hang on to. The best leaders don’t look at failure as the opposite of success, quitting actually is the opposite.

If you’re a T-Swift fan, this may not be new news for you. If you didn’t catch the iHeartRadio Music Awards, T-Swift had a brilliant and powerful message that we can all learn from. You have to catch the video here.

Taylor Swift said, "I really really want everyone to know, especially young people, that the hundreds or thousands of dumb ideas that I've had are what led me to my good ideas. You have to give yourself permission to fail," she shared. "I try as hard as I can not to fail, because it's embarrassing, but I do give myself permission to and you should, too. So go easy on yourselves and just make the right choices that feel right for you."

And this absolutely applies to the leadership world. As leaders, we help our teams create plans and goals and we also set them for ourselves. But if we’re frozen in fear of possibly failing, are we actually stopping ourselves before we even get started? Are we influencing our teams to be fearful too?

We’re never only going to have good ideas, there may be thousands of terrible ideas beforehand, but what leads us to successful, innovative ideas are in fact these failures.

If we start playing the “what if” games, we spend more energy avoiding than actually acting. Our CEO, Gary Gzik was taught from a young age by his father that success is a split-second decision. It’s all the agonizing, fear and doubt that takes up so much time and stops us from winning (and failing).

Leaders need to not breed the fear of failure, but give themselves and others permission to fail. Be fearless, celebrate the success and failures, and not ignore the greatness that is within all of us.

Taking our failures, sharing our failures and learning from them is what leads teams, leaders and organizations to new levels of winning.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. What can I do differently to support others when they fail?

  2. What can we do as a team to improve how we see failures?

  3. Describe a time when you failed forward. What led to your success?


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