5 lessons learnt sharing failures with my son

It was last weekend I had the privilege of speaking to 15 young fathers as I prepare to launch my first social enterprise mentoring young fathers for greatness and helping them launch a business that matters. I had taken my son Sean with me so he could experience what I was doing.  It was in during the talk that I was asked a question by one of the young dads there. "What are your biggest failures?". 

I knew I had be honest and transparent. Here were young 15 young guys that had shown up with a range of challenges, negative words spoken into their lives and the honest reality that they felt like failures. I couldn't hold back and pretend things had gone OK.

I began to share failures that very few people knew about, failures I had never shared with my son who is now approaching eleven. As I shared my stories I could see my son's eyes widen as I told of relationships gone bad, huge losses and behavioural immaturity. Then I shared the lessons learnt, how that has impacted who I'm becoming and what I do today.

On the way back home my son began to share his own story and that he thought he was a failure because of it. I listened and held back my own emotions. The conversation I had with my son changed my perspective on how I parent. I've never hidden challenges we may have at home from our kids but by omission I left out the harder parts. That day we learnt 5 lessons about failure together.

  • Acknowledgement of failure is not acceptance of it it is the first step of growth through it.
  • You don't have to be perfect but you have to be willing to make progress.
  • Failure isn't a person its a moment in your story you can choose to write the ending to. 
  • Your response tomorrow matters more than the failure today.
  • Ask yourself positive questions like "how can I help others learn from this mistake?" turns the feeling of failure into a way to help others win.  

Theses are some simple truths my son and I discussed. For you there will be many more. The power of sharing your failures with your children I now believe is one of the most impacting moments you can have. It strips away position and reveals our humanity. More than ever our children need a model of how they can authentically be themselves even in failure than learning from others how to hide and suppress themselves because of it.

What do you think? and what have you learnt from your failures?

Jermaine Edwards

Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.

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