For the third year in a row, the Florida Philanthropic Network hosted its annual “Fail Fest,” a time when funders are given the platform to share and celebrate specific instances of failure. Some shared small failures and others leaned into the opportunity for vulnerability and shared oversights that cost them over $2 million.
As funders, grantees and human beings, failure is never a fun topic. Nor is it something that we typically enjoy reflecting upon. But if there’s anything to be learned from FPN’s #FailFest, it’s that failure is an opportunity for success. Here’s why:
- FAILURE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TRANSPARENCY
When things don’t quite go as planned, we can either hide and hope no one notices, or be vulnerable and share our shortcomings. The beauty of sharing our shortcomings is that it makes us more trustworthy. Admitting failure tells others that we value honesty and open communication. It takes off a mask of perfectionism and – as a funder – it makes us a little bit more approachable. When we are transparent, we invite others to be, as well.
- FAILURE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO INVITE OTHERS TO THE TABLE
There’s no better moment to invite others to the table than when our own solutions and strategies have failed us. Failure can reap its rewards when it leads us to valuing someone else’s input.
When things haven’t gone according to plan, do you wrack your brain to find another way? Or do you accept the failure and turn to outsiders for their support and advice? Diversity of thought often leads to better solutions and can empower others in the process. Whose voice can be of help and value to you? Sometimes it’s only out of the desperation following failure that we become aware of the value of an outside perspective.
- FAILURE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A FRESH START
Something didn’t work or go according to plan? While starting from nothing isn’t always the best solution, it is a solution. And sometimes it is the best solution. When you start from scratch, you’re offered the opportunity to rebuild correctly, applying the lessons you learned from your most recent failure. So instead of thinking of failure as a dead-end, think of it as a new beginning. This will help you get up and continue to move forward – this time with a renewed sense of how you plan to do so.
What’s a time when you’ve failed? How has it paved the way for success? Let us know! We want to hear your stories!