Why Everyone Should Write a Failure Resumé

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.From the department of ideas that are worth sharing, check this out. Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company, has a very interesting newsletter you should subscribe to; failure is the theme of the latest one.

It includes a video, which you can watch below, on why everyone should write a failure resume. Why does this idea matter?

Because we spend most of our time thinking and dreaming about success—how we define it, what we need to do to achieve it, the best ways to document it. So the idea of documenting and sharing ones failures may sound a little strange. But one of the best ways to prepare yourself to succeed is to be honest about, even to celebrate, all those times in your career that you failed. That’s the message of the video!

Failure is necessary for innovation

Our society doesn’t like failure; it’s punished. You’re very likely to work in an organization that hires people who have a perfect slate of experience, because that’s a sign of certainty. But nobody has a perfect resume, it’s just what one decides to put in it.

If you read my About page you’ll see I’ve included my “failures”; I don’t hide from them. I talk about them because those are my war scars, the ones I’ve learned from. I use them in my public speaking to explain how there is no straight line to success. Bumps and bruises are inevitable in life; innovation is no exception.

To me avoiding talking about ones mistakes is a sign of fear. Leadership is growth. Learning from ones mistakes, instead of hiding them, is growth. Because you won’t grow if you can’t learn from mistakes. You’re sending me a signal that your personal growth is not your priority if you avoid failure.

We need to reframe failure as learning to drive innovation. If you aren’t failing you’re not trying hard enough. I use the word setback instead of failure, because true failure means giving up.

If you have no tolerance for failure, success is going to be difficult. When you have no tolerance for it:

  • It’s hard to explore the unknown
  • It’s hard to do interesting work
  • It’s hard to get up when you fall
  • It’s hard to take the necessary risks

The truth is innovation is the opposite of certain!

How To Write Your Failure Resumé

The video above explains the idea behind a failure resumé. Bill also wrote an article for Harvard Business Review on how to write a failure resumé, complete with examples, advice, and links to great examples. Check it out!