On Failure and Fun

By     Mar 10, 2016

Field Notes

These articles were originally featured on Field Notes, National Arts Strategies' ArtsJournal blog where we mine, distill and contextualize ideas; provide frameworks that anyone can use; and offer everyone in the field the opportunity to discuss the underlying issues.

In this video, Beth Kanter, discusses the prominent resistance to using failure in the nonprofit sector to our benefit or as a learning mechanism. It is helpful to move out of a ‘fixed’ mindset into a ‘growth’ mindset in order to use failure in a productive way. Rather than fixating on a tough situation, think about it in terms of growth! By being open to growth and change, you can use failure as an opportunity to improve.

It takes some practice to get into this mindset though. Our first reactions to failure are typically negative. Beth describes three typical (dysfunctional) reactions to failure:

  1. To blame someone else
  2. To ignore the failure
  3. To blame yourself

Beth suggests finding fun and funny ways to talk about failure in the workplace. She points out that if you can’t find ways to talk about failure, it’s impossible to learn from it and transform it into future success.

Beth writes, presents and shares resources on failure in the nonprofit sector constantly. Check out her blog. These are great resources to explore! http://www.bethkanter.org/category/failure/