By Steve Moran

We live in a culture that increasingly celebrates perfection and brutally punishes people for even slightly missing the mark on perfection. According to the Adam Grant’s Worklife podcast, there is research to support the idea that this is something that is getting worse. 

Crazy Thinking

If we are intellectually honest, this is crazy thinking. It is completely illogical, and yet it is the way the world is — the way most of us are. The reasons are complicated but seem to stem from the toxic political environment, the fake perfect lives, perfect people on Facebook, and COVID.  

Has It Happened to You?

I am betting that if you think back over the past year, you can come up with several stories of times when you made a small mistake, or maybe it was not even a mistake but angered someone and you were blasted for it. Maybe even completely alienated. 

Terrible when it happens in your personal or professional life. If it happens too much in your senior living community, it can be a disaster for residents, team members, and the bottom line.  

Have You Done It?

Maybe even worse, you have done it to someone else. I know I have. Something happens that feels like a personal insult, and you go ballistic on the person who wronged you, even if there was no ill intent. A few years ago, I was at a high school graduation where the commencement speaker cautioned the graduates to not live their lives in a “pre-offended” state. That is the world we live in today. But we can choose to not be one of “those.”

The Church of Fail

In that same podcast, Adam Grant tells a story about a media company that combats this with an activity they call “The Church of Fail.” Here is how it works:

  1. It is completely voluntary.
  2. Typically the first fail comes from a company leader.
  3. When they are done, everyone celebrates.
  4. When it is your turn, you must answer the following three questions:
    1. How did you fail?
    2. How did you cope with it?
    3. What did you learn from it?

I Will Start

The Story: A few days ago, I looked up a leader who I thought I didn’t know and had never met, and it turned out they were a first-level connection on LinkedIn. You might be thinking, “Well, Steve, you meet thousands of people each year, and that is simply to be expected.”

The problem is that it was worse than that. I reached out to them via LinkedIn because I was interested in learning from them and doing a story with them. This person immediately responded with their personal email and cell phone number.  

What did I do with it? Yep, you got it! I did nothing; it simply fell between the cracks. 

What I Learned

How I coped: Since this just happened, the coping is still happening. I did reach out by phone, leaving a voice mail apologizing and asking if we can reconnect. I have not heard back yet.   

What I learned: Three lessons:  

  1. I am imperfect and have to be careful to not beat myself up too much.
  2. I need to deal with emails and messages as soon as they come in, rather than thinking I can remember to address them later. 
  3. What if this opportunity is completely blown? Who could blame the leader if they didn’t respond? There are more great leaders to learn from and interview. But I am still hopeful. 

 My Question for You

Would you be willing to share a fail story with our audience? I think it would be a powerful way of making the industry better.  

Use this link to share your fail story on video: