I have enjoyed reading some of the recent press around a large VC investment in the residential rental real estate company launched by one of the WeWork co-founders. But one quote in particular from some of that press (shown below) really resonated with me, for very different reasons.
The opportunity to fail, and to try again, is critical to human development and success - whether in parenting, coaching or taking a chance on a new business venture, we're all familiar with some variation on the saying that, “if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again". We even see it in the law, with concepts like notice and cure rights, and the ability to reorganize through a bankruptcy. Of course, there are circumstances in which there is truly no opportunity to fail (scary!), but as a general matter, the possibility of a second chance can be an important psychological safety net when pushing yourself on your first attempt, and actually getting another chance can be an important motivation to push yourself even harder to succeed on your second try.
However, not all of us are so fortunate, and a corollary to the concept above is that it can be devastating to not get second chances, especially when others do. Inequality of any sort, whether based on gender, race or otherwise, can result in fewer opportunities to fail and try again for certain people, which in turn can have negative repercussions on the person's self-confidence and success rate. And at a systemic level, this bias actually hurts all of us, at all tiers of society and business, because - whether in the context of a family, a team, a business unit or a company - we all ultimately benefit from collective self-confidence and success.
Life isn't always fair, I know. But whenever possible, we all deserve the opportunity to fail and to "try, try, again" until we succeed, and I hope to do my part personally and professionally!
"Man, I wish women had the same opportunity to fail up as spectacularly..."