I’m not sure what happened. We were successful last time in achieving our goal so we went for it again, tripling our efforts only to achieve lukewarm results.
The reviews were in, the training was a huge success. We shared it with a much larger audience and doubled our outreach and still didn’t come close our goal.
When you go for it and fail, that can be a humbling experience for anyone. But as a trainer, you often feel like you have to be ahead of the curve, an expert with results to prove that you are worthy to teach others.
But if you try and don’t achieve what you hoped, what really do you have to feel embarrassed for?
If you are going to go big on the issues you believe in, failure will happen. That is a near certainty.
What would be worse is to never aspire to anything greater, to always choose the easy road.
If you are content with the way things are, then social change may not be for you. When you are trying to improve lives for all, you will fall. Frequently.
Does that mean you have nothing to teach others? Of course not.
Interestingly, if you dig enough into the literature on strategy, on design, on messaging, on communications you will see even the most recognized experts recommending testing your ideas over and over.
That is, no matter how much experience you have, you cannot predict human behavior.
There is always more we have to learn from those we aspire to support in our work. Sometimes their inaction will be a measure of how much more time we need to spend asking questions and listening.
These are the experiences from which learning grows. They help you to empathize with the real challenges that are faced by those you hope to teach. Without them, they are just ideas, words.
If you want to truly make the world better, get used to failure while never ceasing to dream big.