Write a Failure Resume

August 31, 2018 04:15 AM

For the next few minutes, let’s think about failure. That word can send chills down your spine, I know. But as leaders and businesspeople, we should not fear failure. In fact, we should welcome and document it.

“We spend most of our time thinking and dreaming about success—how we define it, what we need to do to achieve it, the best ways to document it,” says Bill Taylor, Fast Company magazine co-founder and business author. “So it may sound a little strange to document and share your failures.”

Ups And Downs. However, writing a failure resume is one of the best ways to prepare yourself to succeed. By revisiting your mistakes, setbacks and miscalculations, you can remember success is rarely a straight path full of roses and sunshine, Taylor explains.

“A big part of winning over the long term is how you handle defeat and disappointment in the short term,” he says.

By reflecting on all the things that didn’t go your way, you can remind yourself how well you’ve done anyway. Maybe you tried a new venture that went bust or missed out on a great cash rent arrangement? Isn’t your farm operation still successful—and perhaps—even better off because of that error?

This leadership exercise is especially important for those who lead others. By sharing lessons we’ve learned, you can inspire grit and resolve in your family and team. Plus, you become more human and authentic.

I’ve talked to so many young farmers who are intimidated to take over their family operation. Their father or mother has built a successful and innovative farm—with so few missteps (at least from the next generation’s perspective). What if this young farmer screws it all up?

You want to teach your family and team members about the true measure of success and how to prepare for the setbacks they will inevitably face. “How we’re measured as leaders is how much we contribute to the success of those who work for us,” Taylor says.

When you write your failure resume, follow these suggestions from Taylor.

  1. Don’t chronicle your failures until you document your successes.
  2. Be tangible and specific. What did you learn from the setbacks you’ve experienced?
  3. Keep it entertaining. Most failure resumes are upbeat. Remember, this is an exercise to create clarity for yourself about the potholes on the road to success.

Path To Victory. With farming’s competitive and volatile environment, mistakes will be made. Choose to learn from failure and build a stronger business. 

“In a world drunk on success, being willing to share your failure resume will help you stand out from the crowd,” Taylor says. 

Develop your leadership skills at the 2019 Top Producer Summit, which will take place Jan. 15-17 in Chicago. Learn more at TPSummit.com

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