S:0594 Distinction: Feedback vs. Failure

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


Nobody likes to fail; it feels yucky.

Failure is the reaction you have when something doesn’t turn out the way you wanted or expected it to. Notice the word “reaction” in that sentence. Failure is not about the thing, it’s about your reaction to the thing.

Failure is a judging of events and/or yourself. “I failed to…” has a downer context. It’s not about wishing or hoping things had turned out a different way — although those may be in the mix also — it’s primarily about feeling less-than.

You can deal with the same events in a different way. You can treat everything as feedback. “I did this and that happened.” No judging, only learning. If what you do gives you the results you want, do more of it. If not, do less. Staying in the question “what really happened here?” leaves you open to get feedback.

Feedback teaches. Feedback grows.

Experiencing the world as a sequence of potential failures is draining and diminishing.


Coaching Point: It’s not easy to give up a lifetime of seeing failures. What can you do so that the next “failure” you have you see through the lens of “feedback?”


Copyright 2007 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.