“Fail fast” was a phrase taught to me during a business coaching presentation while I was in my financial advising career in my mid 20’s. It is a phrase that has stuck with me ever since because of its power and seemingly contradictory meaning.
Nobody likes to fail at something, right? Yet here was a business coach telling us failing is one of the best things for us as humans. How do you think all of humanity has gotten to where we are today? By failing at things…. and then learning from that failure. This second part was really the key to what the coach was trying to tell us.
Failing is a good thing because it can provide so much information we can learn from:
– I wasn’t good at that job, now I am in a job I excel at.
– That relationship was terrible, but now I found my soulmate.
– The sales prospect I met said they weren’t interested after our initial meeting, great, now I am free to move onto the next sales meeting who does want what I am selling.
– The trade I took didn’t work 2 days later, perfect, it didn’t take 2 weeks of my time and now I can apply those funds to a better trade that worked right away.
The point is, it is better to find out that something isn’t going to work sooner than later so you don’t waste your time and energy muddling along. Trying to force something that ultimately won’t work is just a waste and it is far more efficient to recognize that right away so we can move on in a better direction.
We humans fail at everything all the time and it’s ok. It’s how we learn. In fact, we learn more when things don’t work than if they do. Often times, if something works too well the first time, we may not actually know why it worked and then may not be able to reproduce it consistently the next few times. Ever had an amazing pool shot where you sank 3 balls at the same time and your friends said, “that was amazing! How’d you do that?” and all you could do was shrug your shoulders?
It is when we have made every error in the book that we then know exactly what works and what doesn’t and can build the experience we need to be great in the future. Failing is educational, just be sure to learn the lesson quickly and don’t do it over and over.