Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat.

Fail and Learn, It’s Better than Faking Perfection

A positive mentality when it comes to failure, particularly professional failure is a healthy habit, worth forming. From an early age, we tend to experiment and try different things without fear of failure. As we grow, we sometimes loose this ability and often fall into predefined patterns and lines.

Far to often, when someone makes a mistake, they are outed and scolded. This often leads to situations when we do our best to cover up our blunders, instead of accepting them and learning what we can do from that experience.

Starting from a mentality of excessively blaming mistakes, some business owners have developed an adversity towards risk and hostility towards mistakes. So, when they build and develop their business, they always choose the safest way, they shy away from the road less traveled.

The philosophy of a start-up is quite the opposite. Those who have started on this path have learned that mistakes can easily be divided in two categories: some with impact at the micro level and others with impact at the macro level. Most of the times, to avoid a big mistake one needs to make more mistakes with limited impact.

Start-ups are confronted with various problems every day. Each morning there are incoming mails and calls, someone announces something unforeseen, a meeting gets cancelled, another one comes from thin air and one has to act right away. Dynamism and adaptability are key elements in this environment. Entrepreneurs come across things which do not work on a daily basis, however they have trained their mindset so as to give little importance to small problems and malfunctions. They know that the difficulties you face help you grow and lead you to a strategy based on finding the best solutions.

There is no better way to learn than by owning one’s failure, understanding what went wrong and adapting the work strategy and vision in order to solve the crises.

The work culture at CyberSwarm has succeeded in creating a safe space for the team, where we can continuously share and discuss what is not working according to the initial plan. As a consequence, we do not judge each other for the things which are not going well. It is an extraordinary feeling to be in a company where you can openly talk about your fears, about mistakes and uncertainty, without worrying the others will judge or blame you. This helps us collaborate productively and help each other. Aiming for perfection will always hold you back; it just isn’t attainable. It’s better to do a job well done than a job well said.

In a start-up, mistakes with an immediate impact are preferable. It is even recommended to create a space to fail in the short term to succeed in the long term. Many times leaders have to own every decision, even the less inspired ones. The path to follow is sometimes fuzzy and far from easy, but on the way to the destination one comes to learn things they did not know before. To discover the best way to act, one must keep on trying.

We can learn and develop our skills through learning from failure. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. Perseverance is the separator.

Entrepreneurship is a rough world, full of competitiveness and challenges, not something fancy as many believe. There will always be pressure, fears, mistakes, but the way an entrepreneur reacts turns them into a successful, visionary leader.

Unfortunately, Romanians collective psychology does not contain owning up to responsibilities and a positive mentality when it comes to their attitude towards mistakes, and this leads to abandoning their business. There is a frequent tendency to separate mistakes and failure from progress and achievements.

Working at CyberSwarm has taught me that many times the key to growth is about setting goals outside of your comfort zone. In order to evolve you need to set high objectives which are hard to reach. Getting as far away from one’s comfort zone as possible helps get closer to all the things one cannot accomplish at the respective moment. Inevitably, that means taking risks and possibly failing, and consequently setting one’s mind on finding the best solutions.

As a start-up we never imagine that we will get what we want from the first attempt. We always take into account the possibility of failing, but we do not focus on the problem at hand, rather on how to solve it. By adopting the trial and error approach, we have learned that small mistakes get us closer to our goal and behind every defeat there lies a lesson. The best things happen when we challenge ourselves.

The main reason why very few people have bold initiatives and are proactive inside a company is precisely the unjustified fear of failure. It is much easier to set a reasonable goal to appease those around us, and make a minimum of effort. Establishing a complex goal is more difficult since it puts pressure on us and forces us to grow constantly.

The majority prefers a quick success with instant gratification rather than take up a challenge which can bring them an infinite amount of knowledge and development in time. The preoccupation for immediate success without considerable efforts encourages shallowness. Therefore, fewer and fewer people have solid knowledge about their field, because one can only get them through mistakes, owning up to them and setting one’s mind to finding efficient solutions. That is how innovation is born.