“It can’t be done.”
This is the conclusion that some people come to after giving something a few tries.
Others take on the mindset of:
“We have not figured out yet how to do it.”
When we are working on a hard goal, setbacks and failures are part of what is involved. This can surely be disappointing. But if we are truly inspired by the goal and especially what it can do for others, then we should encourage one another to keep working at it.
This great quote by Thomas Edison is a good reminder:
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Success in any endeavor is not “supposed” to be easy.
Sometimes our ideas on how to pursue a goal need to be “tweaked.” Maybe many times over. You need to look deeply at the failure you have had and study it. We can learn a lot from failures if we have the right mindset.
This is why the practice of After Action Reviews is so important. Maybe you need to “pivot” your efforts one way or the other. But you will never know if you don’t fully investigate. (See this blog on AARs to learn how to do them right and this blog on an HBR article on improving your “Return on Failure.”)
There are scientists who have been working for decades to find a cure for cancer. They have made a lot of progress, but the total cure is still elusive. I’m glad they have a mindset of “We simply have not figured it out yet.”
An attitude that embraces hard work and failure can lead to much higher levels of performance. Take this on as an individual and make it a part of your organization’s culture. Without this, you are limiting your potential and holding yourself back from the true Mission Impact you can really make.