The Benefit of Failure in Your Career or Business

In last week’s post, I shook the trees a bit. I acknowledged that many of us are struggling and that part of this is we’re not cutting ourselves a break. Now is the perfect time to strengthen our failure resiliency muscles, to ensure we’re in a failure resilient context, or both.

This week and next week I’d like to share four podcast episodes that take a dive deep into this.  Some you may have missed, or some time has passed and they might be even more relevant now to go back and have a listen. This week is business and career focused. Next week is a life and wellbeing focus.

Lessons from Failing

How can failing actually fuel greatness in our businesses and careers? Well, in four very unique ways.

  1. Failure Lowers the Waterline to Reveal (and Fix) the Cracks

Thumbnail for The Wealthy Speaker podcast with Sarah McVanel and Jane AtkinsonOn Speaker Coach, Jane Atkinson’s podcast The Wealthy Speaker Show, we got real about how we’ve both experienced many challenges in business as a result of COVID. At first, it felt like the sky was falling. Then, we realized that the pandemic forced us to take a good hard and honest look at our businesses. We noticed, addressed and improved things that would have remained hidden (or we could have ignored) otherwise. If you feel your business has taken a hit (or it’s made you gunshy to go out on your own), tune in. Here’s some highlights:

  • Finding your identity through COVID.  [2:00]
  • When the distribution channel dries up.  [7:45]
  • Riding the “mental rollercoaster”.  [10:30]
  • Keeping your routine in uncertain times.  [15:00]
  • Finding cracks in the foundation.  [18:15]
  • Look for the positive and cut yourself a break[21:15]
  • Shifting your business model to adapt to change.  [29:00]
  • Tips for writing your book.  [33:00]
  1. Failure is a Strategy for Peak Performance

Podcast thumbnail for High Performance Mindset Podcast with Sarah McVanel and Cindra KamphoffDr. Cindra Kamphoff knows a little bit about peak performance. As the performance coach for the Minnesota Vikings, she helps athletes at the top of their game surpass their limits. Join us as we chat about what the great Canadians in Sarah’s book and Cindra’s experience with top athletes have in common. Ultimately, if you’re not willing to fail on the short-term in your career, you’re not going to win as big on the long-term. Here are key points in our conversation:

  • How Sarah defines failure.  [9:53] 
  • What is the flip side of failure.  [12:09] 
  • How people can praise themselves.  [15:29] 
  • A story where Sarah failed, what she learned from it and how she used the flip.  [19:56]
  • A story where Cindra failed and what she learned.  [27:38]
  • Why we need to fail.  [32:15]
  • Talking about deflate, elevate, mitigate.  [39:14]
  • How to adapt a high performers mindset of always looking for failure.  [43:23]
  • How expectation connects with our belief that we failed and not having a failure resistant mindset.  [49:29]
  • Failure resistant mindset.  [55:21]
  1. Failure Encourages you to Consider What Else is Possible

Simply Focus podcast thumbnailElfie Czerny and Dominik Godat are internationally renowned solution-focused practitioners. In our interview, we dive into a solution-centric lens to failure; although we often see failing as a problem, we can also leverage it as an opportunity to consider what else is possible (a key tenant in a solution-focused approach.) Although this interview took place last year, the interview is still relevant given how we’ve thrown the status quo right out the window. Since we don’t have a choice but to reinvent, why not do it on our terms? Here are key points in our conversation:

  • recognition of greatness when working with teams
  • how people handle failing
  • solution focused questions refocus and elevate
  • redefining the stories we tell each other and ourselves
  • being involved in the community or how Sarah started and has grown her business
  • The Challenge of the week: Think of a label you give yourself, decide if it is working for you, and if no, allow yourself to envision a different possibility and a more helpful description
  1. Failure Can’t Be Avoided in Creativity

Sarah McVanel Stark Reflections podcast thumbnailThrough the lens of authorship. publishing expert and writing coach Mark Leslie Lefebvre of the Stark Reflections Podcast explores how failure is an inevitable part of the creative process. Mark’s experience is that authors – first time or serial authors – don’t expect failure, resist it, and sometimes let roadblocks stifle versus invigorate their creative process. Sometimes it stops or seriously delays authorship. Sarah shares, ironically, the many failed attempts before Flip Side of Failing to write the book, but that it was a much better book as a result of those failures.

Leaver your greatness with sarah McVanel on Cashing Creativity Podcast thumbnail Similarly, my conversation with Bruce Outridge on Cashing in on Creativity Podcast explored how failure is true of every creative profession; illustrators, designers, musicians, dancers, etc; all ameteur and professional artists experience many roadblocks on their way to the success on the canvas or stage. We debunk the “overnight success story” myth, and encourage artists to lean into their struggles versus let it be seen as a sign they’re on the wrong track.

If you know someone who would benefit from listening to one of these podcasts, please forward this to them and say, “you are worth seeing the value I see in you.” We are #inthistogether as we find the #flipsideoffailing.

To find even more benefits to failing, check out these other blog posts:

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– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

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Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

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Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

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