IIG News

Embracing Failure: A Stepping-Stone to Success

In the insurance industry, we all strive to be efficient and customer centric. Immense pressure is placed on all insurance professionals to deliver on everything insurance: creating relationships, providing the best service, and adhering to legislation. This continuous drive for excellence often leads to stress and pressure.


How we define success, and its opposite – failure, therefore plays a pivotal role in our wellbeing. In the context of the constant pursuit of excellence, it is important to learn healthy mechanism for responding to failure. Part of this response involves how failure is perceived and conceptualised. It is important for failure to be seen as a learning curve, or stepping-stone to success: something to build from.


This reconceptualization of failure is important. As insurance professionals, we must recognize that failure is sometimes inevitable. We may fail to land that important client. We may not get that promotion we had been working towards. Or we may not meet all our Key Performance Indicators. Most of us will experience what can be seen as failure at some points of our lives.


When this happens, when we experience what we regard as failure, we must not make it the end of the road. Instead of viewing failure as a setback, we must put in place strategies to learn from the experience and better plan for the future. It is through embracing our failures, learning from them, and celebrating our successes that we evolve and grow, becoming better versions of ourselves.


There are multiple frameworks available that insurance professionals can utilise to better deal with failure and ensure effective self-management. One of these relate to adopting a growth mindset. In her groundbreaking research, Carol Dweck distinguishes between two mindsets (the fixed mindset and the growth mindset) and elaborates on how adopting a growth mindset can yield good outcomes for how we deal and cope with failure.


To quote verbatim from Caral Dweck, “in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.” Put differently, when we adopt a growth mindset, we fail forward. We fail for success.


Another framework is the Healthy Mind Platter, which was developed Dr David Rock and colleagues. This approach emphasizes the importance of seven essential mental activities that are crucial for our overall well-being and optimal functioning, and help us build resilience, manage stress more effectively, and navigate through failures. The activities are sleep, physical time, focus time, time in, play time, connecting time and down time. The Healthy Mind Platter serves as a guide to help organizations and individuals cope with failure by ensuring a balanced approach to mental well-being.


In conclusion, failure should not be feared but embraced as a stepping-stone to success. In the fast-paced and demanding environment of the insurance industry, encountering failures is inevitable. By adopting a holistic approach to self-management as insurance professionals, and utilising some of the frameworks outlined above, we can cultivate resilience, foster growth, and ultimately, achieve success in our personal and professional lives. Embracing failure allows us to learn, adapt, and evolve, paving the way for innovation and excellence in the Insurance Industry and beyond.


Article Written By Aaron Mrabalala & Aaron Msipha