I listened to a podcast the other day about Sara Blakely – Founder and CEO of Spanx. In order to explain her relationship with failure she shared about her father asking every night at the dinner table what her and her siblings failed at that day. Each would admit a failure they experienced that day and what they learned from the failure. Sara said that talking about failure openly from such a young age normalized it for her. Instead of being something she feared it was something she welcomed. Later when trying to convince department stores to sell Spanx, she would just call them up and ask. People she talked to were shocked that she was able to sell her brand in such high end stores and would question her on her strategies. They were surprised when Sara didn’t have a story about knowing the right people or attending a networking event, but simply calling and asking.
Fear of failure is one of the most common fears that humans today deal with. Whether it be failure as a parent, an employee, or a friend, many people wonder about how they are measuring up in their roles and relationships. Instead of being motivating though, it’s often paralyzing. Out of a fear of failing people stay stuck. If failure could be waiting around the corner they would rather not move at all. The problem is, this choice often confirms their worst nightmare. By choosing to do nothing and play it safe, people often don’t succeed at their goals.
What if we saw failure the same way Sara does. Instead of it being the monster in the closet, the thing we avoid like the plague, or even the situation that determines our worth, what if it was expected. What if we saw failure coming and welcomed it? What if we saw failure as a normal part of life that creates our experiences.
How would your life be different if you discussed your failures around the dinner table?