Lessons My Toddler Taught Me About Failure
My husband and I recently took Frankie, our 14 month old, to Cape Cod for the first time. He just started walking this summer, so I knew that the sand would be an extra obstacle for his unstable legs. This is what watching him taught me about failure.
1. Celebrate other people’s failures!
When a toddler falls, the last thing you do is gasp and run over to them in a hurried, scared state. Instead, you cheer, so that they will master the skill of walking and not be afraid to fall in the future. Because let’s face it, Mom and Dad are tired of carrying around a 25 lb. person.
What would it be like if we did this for our teams? What if, upon failures, we cheered (figuratively, hey, maybe even literally!) and encouraged one another to fail and learn from those mistakes so that they could become masterful at what they do?
2. Enjoy the fall.
My son laughs when he falls, he thinks it is hilarious. However, it’s much easier to encourage others to fail than it is to be comfortable with it ourselves. How do you see failure? Really? It’s time to reframe. It is an opportunity, not only to learn, but to show others how you deal with failure. If you are hard on yourself, those around you will assume you’ll be just as hard on them, therefore perpetuating the nasty cycle of the fear of failure. Be kind to yourself and find joy in the process.
3. Lead with your gut.
Have you ever noticed the way a toddler walks? They lead with their belly, fully letting it hang out. None of this uncomfortable sucking in, trying to play it safe, appearing like they have it all together. Have you ever seen a baby in spanks? I didn’t think so.
The time when you fail the most epically is going to be when you follow your gut instinct and go for that crazy idea. But you know what? If you learn from it, instead of bailing and sucking it in like it never existed, you may also experience your greatest success.
Frankie spent three days trudging through the most difficult terrain for a toddler to traverse, he must have fallen a hundred times, but do you know what he’s been doing since we got back home? Running!