Unexpected situations happen all the time. You are making a fantastic planning, already anticipating on unexpected situations. You want to know what to expect and what needs to be delivered. But this one major setback, you had not seen it coming and it is frustrating! It is just like the slippery banana skin at the pedestrian crossing …
We love to control, including unexpected situations
Wait a minute! You love to control unexpected situations?
I do agree (and even encourage!) to include risk assessments in projects and to brainstorm about possible objections and problems. A good preparation is setting you up for success, but don’t exaggerate. You won’t be able to control everything. You’d better spend your energy on making progress with your team or project, instead of focusing on what could go wrong. Controlling too much will give you the feeling of failure.
So, to get back to this burning question:
How can I avoid failure and unexpected situations at work?
I have some very bad news for you: you can’t! The nature of unexpected situations is …. they are unexpected. Errors will happen, all the time!
However, I do have some good news for you. You choose how you experience the unexpected situations. Do you want to be thinking in terms of?
Failure ~ this is narrowing your mind
- Opportunity to grow ~ this is expanding your view.
Dare to make mistakes
I suggest to go for number 2, the opportunity to grow. The fastest way to success is making mistakes. You make a mistake, you correct it and learn from it.
I do understand you don’t like failure. I used to dislike it myself as well. Failure is triggering critical thoughts like “I’m not good enough”, “I should have done this better”, “What did I miss?” or “How can I hide what happened?”. These critical voices are not empowering at all. The effect is that I freeze and wait too long before initiating a new action, unless asking myself:
What can I learn from this?
Or perhaps more specifically: “What could I have done differently?”, “Was I clear enough about my expectations?”, “Should I give more attention to my team and colleagues” or “Should I have a serious conversation about his performance?”. Setbacks are the perfect opportunity for growth, as long as you are open to this.
What opportunity do you see for yourself? Do you want to be experiencing failure as failure or as an opportunity to grow?
What is your biggest insight after reading this blog? Leave a comment in the comment section below. I’d love to know!