Learning from the Attempt

When you find yourself navigating your way through a crisis, what can you do to come out on the other side, stronger for the experience?

Every crisis involves risk. By definition, a crisis is fraught with danger, but also an opportunity for tremendous learning and growth. Crisis is a time of testing, but it’s also a time of renewal. Many people, when faced with a crisis or a challenge, tell themselves that they have failed and convince themselves that there’s no point in trying any longer.

For example, if a young woman tries to become a professional sculptor and fails, it doesn’t mean she’s a failure as a person or that her life is a failure. It simply means that, at this particular time in her life, her attempts at sculpting for a living are not working out. There are many other possible choices she can make, including continuing to practice her art, networking to participate in art shows, taking further classes and being open to opportunities in the future. She hasn’t failed, and she doesn’t have to give up her dream. But she does need to learn from this attempt and, perhaps, rethink her strategy.

Let’s say that an organization decides to try a new ad campaign for a product. Ad campaigns typically cost a fair amount, so there is a monetary risk involved in something new. Even with the best talent and intensions, the ad campaign doesn’t raise sales as expected. Is it a failure? Only if nothing was learned in the attempt, or if it caused the organization to shy away from ever doing any advertising, ever again.

Are there another ways to go about it? Does the artist need more education? Does the organization need more experience and exposure to the advertising world? Failure is only failure if you let it cause you to quit. If you choose to let it help you, it becomes information you can learn from.

It is in meeting each crisis with determination that we measure up to life and its challenges. In so doing, we develop tenacity and greater inner strength.