How artistic leaders can cope with failure

Failure is an inevitable part of the creative process, yet we will often do anything to avoid it. Here, leadership coach Tanya Livesey explains why leaders need to show that to err is human

“Failure is always the best way to learn … have no fear, your wounds will heal.” Kings of Convenience

In the fiercely competitive creative field, where pressure to succeed often drives our every waking moment, failure is its dark twin, lurking in the background of every project or pitch, waiting to pounce. But failure is a big word for a very personal ­experience that can encompass everything from a minor mishap to a major crisis.

Unfortunately, our notion of failure has a lot of guilt and shame attached to it, indoctrinated into us at school. If you don’t pass your exam, you fail. If you don’t win at sports, you lose.

It’s a binary way of looking at the world that can dog us into adulthood and create a mantle of fear in the workplace. Dependent on our past experiences, what seems catastrophic to one might be a mere bump in the road for another, so how we frame failure matters. And it especially matters if we’re leading a team.

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