Viewing Failure as a Learning Opportunity

Learning Opportunitty

“I’ve worked with Self-Reliant Groups and thought ‘this is going to be the best SRG ever, they are going to do great things and change the world!’ Then something happens, they lose momentum, and it falls apart. But we don’t consider that a failure. It’s all about that learning process and feeling secure enough to take that risk.”

We all learn from our failures. We have all put ourselves out there, attempted something, and fell flat on our face. It’s a rubbish feeling but, more often than not, we pick ourselves up and try again. If we can apply this attitude to our day-to-day life, then why can’t we do the same as third-sector organisation?

Challenging the taboo of failure

Pam Shaw, WEvolution’s Enterprise Officer and Partnership Manager, has been discussing how failure should not be viewed as a taboo subject within third-sector organisations and how it actually benefits our learning process.

When talking about the Self-Reliant Group community, Pam emphasises that it is about having a safety net and feeling comfortable to take risks. For organisations, it can be a scary thought to support something that may fail. In our work lives we want to pursue the option that brings the greatest likelihood of success but we need to understand that failure is part of the learning process. It’s only through failing that we learn and we need to better accept that in our organisations and when working with individuals.

With the SRG model, we support organisations in taking risks and guiding them through the process. We have been through the experience countless times and know how daunting it can be when taking on a project that could fail. However, we know the steps to take, how to provide the best support that allows individuals and groups to flourish, and how to turn failure into a positive.

Peer to Peer Power Lab

WEvolution’s Peer to Peer Power Lab workshop takes place from 17th November to 19th November and goes into detail about providing SRG members with the agency to make their own decisions and not be afraid to pursue challenging goals. WEvolution’s own challenging experiences of the pandemic have shaped the new workshop. Pam has shared her insights on how, when faced with failure, WEvolution took it as an opportunity to learn and try something new.

“Previous workshops were conducted face-to-face but, despite them working very well, they weren’t sustainable. There were only so many people who could meet us in-person whereas we know now that we can conduct meetings via Zoom or other applications. The pandemic shocked us into reimagining how the workshops could work. Instead of thinking “We can’t do these workshops in-person anymore so we may as well not offer them” we pivoted the format and came up with a new solution to communicating with people.”

This learning process has been ongoing and the model for conducting meetings or workshops has been tweaked throughout the pandemic. However, it means we are now at a stage to conduct meetings and offer workshops without fear of them failing. We aim to share our knowledge and experiences with SRG members to let them know that they are not alone when attempting something new or risky. In fact, it is common for all of us in our work and personal lives and we want the people we work closely with to understand that. Failure is not something that should be used as a stick to beat people with but as a tool to encourage learning and perseverance.

To join us at Peer to Peer Power Lab workshop, learn more about the SRG model, and how to use failure as a tool for learning, sign up for the event here.