Creating Space to Fail

If you take risks, you will fail. No, I don't mean play it safe and stop taking risks. What I mean is that you need to fail, and fail often, to move forward. We learn from our mistakes more than from our successes. Failure is a part of improv every time a performer steps on stage. Not every skit will slay, or idea be brilliant, but when the ensemble is built on trust and communication, it usually turns out okay. You stop, think it through, trust the team, and move on. Its the same in business, church, life.

What needs to happen, though, is there needs to be a culture that values risk and experimentation. There needs to be a platform where new ideas can be tested without fear of failure. It's risky outside the box, and you need to know you will be covered if you step outside of it. If you want your organization to be agile and creative, then when a team member fails you can't be upset. It is your job to help them find the gold nuggets in the failure. What did you all learn? How can you improve?

Part of creating a platform for new ideas is the lowering of the potential cost. It won't be easy to fail if the fate of the entire organization relies on this new idea. Take small risks at first. Before launching a whole new brand, or ministry, try a one-time-only event. Take the time to test the waters and listen to feedback. Small adjustments along the way allows you to build up successes as well as failures.

This is true in your personal life as well. Before you make any huge changes in your life, try some baby steps. If an idea fails you haven't lost everything, but you have gained important knowledge. Fail often, but fail forward, and don't bet the farm. And mostly, give yourself permission to fail. We are good at beating ourselves up and holding on to past regrets. Your number one fan and encourager needs to be you. It's cliche but true, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. That's what it means to be an improviser.

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