How to Learn From Your Failures

It’s human nature to want to avoid the pain of failing, sometimes at all costs. If you’re challenging yourself to grow and pursuing big goals, rest assured, you are going to have failures. Maybe even some epic ones. But know this: Failure is not the opposite of success; it is the path to success.

How so?

Well, it’s because hidden inside each failure is a lesson, a golden opportunity to learn, grow and become a better person. The secret though is in knowing how to identify the gems of wisdom revealed by our failures and use them to become better.

Here’s how

Though I haven’t sold real estate in over 20 years, I can still clearly remember the disappointment when I had done a listing presentation, and later received a call or email informing me they were going with another agent. Even worse was when there was no call at all and I’d see the home a few days later listed on MLS with a competitor.

YouCantProduceResultsandExcusesAtTheSameTimeIn the early days of my real estate career, if I didn’t get a listing, I remember immediately coming up with a host of excuses to justify my failure, really as an attempt to make myself feel better. I’d say things like, “the other agent probably offered a lower commission or a higher list price.”

Excuses took the sting out a little at first but soon enough I came to what one might call an epiphany or a meaningful moment of clarity: I can’t produce results and excuses at the same time.

I realized my excuses were just an attempt to free myself from responsibility and were actually blocking my ability to learn from my mistakes.

Taking responsibility

From that moment, I understood that I needed to take responsibility for my failure and find out what went wrong, why it went wrong, and what I could have done differently.

The first courageous step was to call buyers and sellers afterwards to ask them for feedback. Below is a script I used for calling back sellers.

Lost Listing Feedback Script – Download here

“Hi Mary, it’s Richard Robbins here from RRi Real Estate. I understand you listed your home with John. Congratulations, I think John is a wonderful agent and I know he will do a great job for you. The reason I’m calling is, I’m constantly trying to better myself as a real estate professional and was hoping you could help me with some feedback. Please be honest and don’t be concerned about hurting my feelings, I truly just want to learn how to improve and your input is so valuable. 

  1. Can you tell me why you choose John?
  2. Was there something I missed in my presentation that may have caused a different decision?
  3. Do you have suggestions on how I could improve my presentation? 

Mary, thank you so much for being honest with me, this conversation has helped my very much. I wish you all the best in getting your home sold and hope everything takes place in a timely fashion. “

Now, believe me, I understand how difficult this call is to make. However, this is exactly how you take responsibility. This is how you learn from your failures and then use their nuggets of wisdom to become stronger and better than ever.

Until next time, make it count!