John Maxwell has an excellent article on the importance of recognizing, evaluating, and learning from our mistakes.  Just as a baseball player may lead the league in homeruns, they may also strike out more times than any other player as well.

Your leaders can start seeing the value of making mistakes by understanding 7 myths people believe about failure:

MYTH 1. Failure is Avoidable — You’re going to make mistakes. Forgiving yourself and your leaders for past mistakes will empower them to move forward with confidence.

MYTH 2. Failure is an Independent Event — Your leaders need to realize that failure is a process. If they ever flunked a test, it didn’t mean they failed a one-time event. The F grade showed they neglected the process leading up to the test.

MYTH 3. Failure is Objective — The way we perceive and respond to mistakes determines whether or not it is a failure. When your company perceives mistakes as opportunities—not failures—they will become learning opportunities.

MYTH 4. Failure is the Enemy —  If your managers and leaders see failure as the enemy, they will fall behind those who see them as learning opportunities. Observe any high achiever, and you’ll discover a person who doesn’t see a mistake as the enemy. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”

MYTH 5. Failure is Irreversible — Encouragement to correct mistakes from superiors can be what turns a possible setback into an opportunity for growth. There’s an old saying in Texas: “It doesn’t matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow.” The problems come when your company leaders see only the spilled milk and not the bigger picture.

MYTH 6. Failure is A Stigma — Leaders need to know that mistakes are not permanent markers. That’s the way we need to look at failure. It doesn’t define leaders. It frees them to shine.

MYTH 7. Failure is Final — Leaders who fail forward are able to see errors as a regular part of growth, learn from them, and become better for it. Errors become mistakes for your company when you perceive and respond to them incorrectly. Mistakes become failures for your company when you continually respond to them incorrectly.

You and your leaders are human. Recognizing that mistakes are inevitable gives leaders the ability to use mistakes as a growth opportunity instead of a setback. The following Rules of Being Human describe well the state we’re all in:

Rule #1: You will learn lessons.
Rule #2: There are no mistakes—only lessons.
Rule #3: A lesson is repeated until it is learned.
Rule #4: If you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder.
Rule #5: You’ll know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change.