For many of us, leaving failures in the past is an instinctual, preferred reaction. Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and Founder of KIND Snacks, suggests doing the opposite, however. While his company might seem like an overnight success (KIND bars seem to be everywhere all of a sudden!), it actually took Daniel two decades to build KIND into what it is today. Believe it or not, his entrepreneurial journey has been peppered with mistakes, all of which have taught him valuable lessons and led to his eventual success.
In his new book, Do the KIND Thing, he sums up the importance of holding your mistakes near and dear to your heart. He writes, “Trying to forget your mistakes is an error. Wear them proudly. Big failures hold better lessons than any success—as long as you’re in tune with yourself and open to learning from them.”
[Related: Watch Daniel on Office Hours Here]
So, how can you use your failures to propel you forward, both at work and in your personal life? Here are a few ideas:
1. Draw lessons from mistakes.
Let failures invigorate you with the knowledge that, once you know what you did wrong, you can now start doing it right. You’re halfway there. Errors will not only inform your future choices, but they’ll also keep you grounded and remind you that there’s always room to improve.
2. Keep a physical reminder of past failures.
While it’s easy to tuck away reminders of mistakes made, it’s more beneficial to keep them in plain sight. To this day, Daniel keeps products from failed ventures in his office. One specific product—a jar of Asian teriyaki spread—didn’t do well because he tried to expand the line too quickly, compromising quality, and breaking consumers’ trust in the process. This particular mistake informed KIND’s commitment to creating products made from wholesome ingredients that never fall short on quality or taste.
3. Talk to yourself.
When you’re experiencing failure, it might seem like you don’t have time to reflect on what went wrong and why. This, however, is the most important time to constructively criticize yourself. Ask yourself tough questions like: What went wrong? What lessons can I draw from those failures? Can I think more creatively about what’s possible? While it won’t be easy (and at times it might be painful), you’ll be glad you made time for real time introspection.
4. Look for failures in unlikely places.
When things are going well, it’s easy to think that you’re doing everything right, but that’s not always the case. It might just be that your success is hiding a weakness or deficiency, which will later reveal itself. That’s why it’s important to be attuned to your mistakes, and actively look for areas of improvement as you go.
5. Encourage those around you to share their mistakes.
At KIND, Daniel has encouraged risk-taking, which helps drive KIND’s pioneering work and innovation but can also result in ambitious initiatives that don’t quite hit the mark. But rather than hide their mistakes so as to appear invincible, team members are encouraged to publicly acknowledge and learn from them. This approach to open communication can be applied outside the workplace as well. We can all do a better job of voicing our shortcomings and helping our friends and family feel comfortable doing the same.
Get more advice from Daniel in his Office Hours video. Watch it now.
Photo: Life of Pix