Last week, one of our Echo team members sent an email to every attendee. Unfortunately, she added all the email addresses in the “To” field instead of the “BCC” field. Very contra email etiquette.
As soon as she hit “send”, she walked into my office with her face drooping to the floor. She felt horrible. Time slowed down as she hit send, realizing right after she clicked the button that she’d done it wrong. She beat herself up as I tried to assure her it would be ok.
But then it happened. A couple emails rolled in. A few tweets came through. People were “severely disappointed” that we’d made this mistake. Criticism. People knew we’d “failed” and were going to make sure we knew it too.
Now, that wasn’t a failure. It was a mistake. We all make mistakes. And the funny thing is, when I replied to these folks explaining the situation, they were all incredibly sympathetic. They’d all experienced a situation like that. We all have. But for some reason, they were more than happy to kick someone else while they were down – even though they’ve been there themselves.
It fascinates me. Why do we love seeing that other people fail? Why are we so quick to criticize others’ mistakes when we are terrified of the same happening to us? I’m not sure.
But this lesson taught me two things about failure. First, I’m not going to be that person. When someone fails, I choose to be a support system. I choose to help lift them up and encourage them to keep moving. Failure isn’t as bad as we think it is.
Secondly, I need to realize that everyone has failed. Maybe they haven’t failed putting together a conference for 1,000 people, but they can all relate to failure within the scope of their projects. I’m not alone in this failure.
Thousands of people fail every day. And the world keeps turning. And they become successful.
Failure isn’t such a big deal. Let’s stop making it so.