Lately, I have been thinking about durability – what lasts and what doesn’t and the things we hold onto versus what we should toss.
My wife grew up in a rural area of Wisconsin. She is a big fan of Carhartt and has owned some of their clothing for more than twenty years. I had the opportunity to learn more about their brand while shopping for a gift on my wife’s wish list. Carhartt’s claim of durability is justified – just ask their 1.2 million followers on Instagram.
Not Durable – Failure
In interviews with more than 100 people at the top of their fields, Tim Ferriss found they all shared two habits: 1. They ask ‘absurd’ questions and 2. They deconstruct fear. In the article, Francis Ford Coppola is quoted as saying, “Failure is not necessarily durable. You can go back and look at it and go, ‘Oh, that wasn’t a failure. That was a key moment of my development that I needed to take, and I can trust my instinct.”
If failure is not durable, why do we hold on to it? When engaging in real open-hearted conversation, most people can quickly recall and recount moments of failure – so much so that it feels like failure is cataloged in our brains for easy recollection.
Failures related to poor decisions can be quickly rectified in a culture of honesty and safety. Bad choices lead to better ones when shared openly with a team dedicated to group success. The only thing worse than a wrong decision is making NO decision – the GPS can’t let you know that you’re headed in the wrong direction until you start moving.
I find that failures related to character are the hardest to let go of. When I haven’t lived up to my personal values or acted in a way that contradicts them – those failures cut deep. They happen in business and personal relationships. I don’t know about you, but I find that I can readily recall those failures – can actually feel them in my body when I think about them.
But here’s the thing – even those personal character failures are not durable, and there is no value in holding on to them forever. Once you do the work – the personal character work – to reflect, course correct, and make amends for those failures – it is time to release them.
Past vs Future
Carrying around the weight of the past takes up personal bandwidth that is better used to serve your current and future purpose. Acknowledge past failures for the lessons they provided and move on. It’s easier said than done – but it is worth the effort.
What do you consider to be durable – important enough to keep? And what are you holding on to that is past its expiration date?
Let us know what you think.
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