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Learning From Failure – Star Wars: The Last Jedi

In my last blog post, I discussed 6 Leadership Quotes From Master Yoda. Master Yoda is obviously one of my favorite film characters that I draw inspiration from as a leader. After seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, one scene in particular stood out to me and Yoda’s wise words once again resonated with me as a leader. Here are my thoughts on learning from failure inspired by Yoda’s return in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Return of Yoda

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Yoda appears to Luke Skywalker as a Force ghost on the island of Ahch-To. Luke is again at a low point and he is trying to destroy the Jedi Temple. He is distraught over his failure to keep Ben Solo from going to the Dark Side and his inability to handle teaching Rey the ways of the Force. This is where Yoda comes in to intervene.

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The greatest teacher, failure is.

–Yoda, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yoda tells the elder Skywalker not to run from failure but to learn from it instead. Although Luke failed Ben, he does not have to fail Rey. He can learn from his past mistakes to improve how he approaches problems in the future. This is one of my all-time favorite Yoda quotes because I feel that the most important thing I have ever taught my students is the importance of learning from failure.

The Importance of Learning From Failure

Let’s face it, failure is inevitable. No one goes through life achieving success 100% of the time. Everyone fails from time to time and it is perfectly normal. For many of us, failure is something we simply cannot cope with. We strive to achieve at a very high level and we do not like it when our aspirations crumble before us. However, failure should be viewed as a learning experience. When you are able to learn from failure and roll with the punches, you will become more resilient as you progress toward your goals.

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Failure is a Team Effort

When you are in a leadership position, it is important for you to make sure that failure on your team is not attributed to one person alone. You are a team and therefore you should approach failure as a team. As a leader, it is difficult because often you will be blamed for failures on your team that you do not feel are your fault. But think about things from the employees’ perspective. Is there anything you could have done to help support them? Did they try to ask for help but you were not listening? A bit of self-reflection is key in determining the cause of failure on your team.

Keep Moving Forward

The best thing you can do after a failure occurs on your team is to have an open and honest discussion about the situation with all of your employees. Assess the failure from all sides and work with your employees to make a plan to ensure that it does not happen again. Always keep moving forward from this point and continue to work with your team. They should feel that their opinion matters which will motivate them to perform at their highest potential. Over time, you should begin to fail less and succeed more.

What is your favorite Yoda leadership quote? Let us know in the comments!