“Fall down seven times, get up eight times.”~Japanese Proverb
I now enjoy skiing. I used to hate it.
I hated it because I fell. And I hated that I fell. I once made my ski instructor fall getting off the lift. He told me he hadn’t fallen off a lift in over ten years. But I took him out. I hated it. I thought I was stupid, inept, uncoordinated, and the third of these might have been true. But I wasn’t stupid, I was learning. I had to learn to let myself learn.
This is how every child learns to walk – they fall down; they get up. They fall down; they get up. They fall down; they get up. And we never yell at them. “Get up you stupid kid. What’s wrong with you? Why did you fall?” These words never cross our lips. They never even cross our minds. Instead we applaud each attempt. Each first, and second, step. Each plop on a diapered butt.
So why was I so hard on myself? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we berate ourselves (and sometimes others) when we fall? Why can’t we see it as an attempt, a learning, a step in the right direction? Why can’t we fall down seven times only to get up eight times…and then walk on (or ski on)?
The leaders who let their teams fall a few times, and fail a few times, are leaders who let their teams learn. The teams, and individuals, who allow themselves to fall and still keep getting up and going on are the ones who succeed in the long run. It can be challenging to keep getting up. And it can be equally challenging to be patient with ourselves when we fall as we’re learning (especially as we’re learning to ski). But this is the only way to learn. We need to fall. And get up. And fall. And get up. Until we make it down the mountain.
How can you let yourself fall and get up again? Next time you fall, simply get up and keep going.
What helps you keep going when you fall?
Please leave a comment to share.
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I would only add some lines on the Leader’s responsibility to create a safe environment where “failing” and learning would not have drastic consequences.. with the analogy of the baby learning to walk, would be by allowing him/her to try knowing that if he/she falls, will not damage her/him self badly..
Thank you Ivan. We couldn’t agree more.