Start Allowing Those Close To You To Fail

A person encouraging others to embrace failure as a learning opportunity

Start Allowing Those Close to You to Fail

I bet when you saw the title, you thought, “I’m not sure I want to read this.” Or maybe, “What’s this guy on about? How does letting someone fail to help them grow?”

Well, if you’re willing to stick with me for a little bit, I promise I’ll explain myself.

And who knows? By the end, you might even find yourself agreeing with me. But if not, that’s perfectly fine too.

So, let’s dive right in. Would it be okay if I started with a story? Great, thanks. So, among the many stories I could share, let me tell you one about myself. The other day, I was up flying.
In case you didn’t know, I’ve been taking lessons to obtain my pilot’s license, and it’s been an incredible journey so far.

However, I must admit, I tend to push myself a little harder than I probably should.

I set deadlines that others might consider unattainable, like aiming straight for my twin-engine certification instead of starting with a single-engine license.

And to add to that, I often declare, “I will have this license by ____ date,” without ever consulting with anyone, not even Jenna or my instructor—two important people who should be involved in such decisions.

Anyway, I set these lofty goals and pursued them with every fiber of my being. Lately, I’ve been focused on perfecting the landing of this twin-engine aircraft.

In case you didn’t know, a twin-engine plane is significantly heavier than a single-engine one; it goes much faster and packs more power. I had a sudden flashback to Tim the “Tool Man Taylor” from the show Home Improvement and nearly grunted out loud here at the airport where I’m writing this. That would have been embarrassing!

With that said, landing, taking off, and flying are all much quicker, and there’s a lot more happening in the cockpit.

In a single-engine plane, you usually come in for a landing at around 50 MPH, whereas in our twin, you’re closer to 120 MPH, never dipping below 80 MPH.

We’ve been practicing touch-and-go landings, where you touch down, raise the flaps, go full throttle, and take off again without stopping. 
After about five attempts, I was starting to get the hang of landing this behemoth. The first one went well, though I came in a bit too fast and touched down too late.

The second time, I pulled up a tad early, resulting in a fly-around—no actual touchdown, just accelerating and flying about five feet off the ground.

The third time, I landed hard, bouncing down the runway before coming to a stop. The fourth attempt was much smoother; I centered perfectly and touched down softly. 

The fifth time was pure perfection—I landed exactly where I aimed, and it felt incredible! Then, my instructor turns to me and says, “Ready to try this with one engine?”

I looked at him, completely serious, and my eyes widened like Coke bottles as I replied, “Oh heck no! You better show me how it’s done.” 
He takes control, loudly declaring, “WHAT A WUSS?” Ha-ha!

Then he cuts the throttle on one engine, and we bring her in on a single engine.

It was incredible to witness how it functioned. That marked our final landing for the day. When we returned to the hangar, I turned to him and asked, “So, be completely honest with me.

How much did you assist me on those last landings?” He met my gaze squarely and replied, “Dan, that one where we flopped down the runway like a fish on dry ground? That was all you had. Lol.”

The whole point of this experience is that he allowed me to fail multiple times because that’s how one learns. Consider this: if you execute everything flawlessly the first time, every time, you don’t learn.

The crucial aspect is that right after each failure, we discussed what I could have done better and why it didn’t go as planned. He guided me on how to improve and what I should do differently next time.

After we pushed the plane back into the hangar, he looked at me with unwavering sincerity and said, “Dan, the one landing I assisted you with was the single-engine landing. The rest were all you.

You nailed a few of those too.”


Today, I encourage you to act by refraining from action.

The next time you encounter an opportunity for someone to learn through failure, provided it won’t result in significant harm, I urge you to embrace the chance for them to fail.

Then, following that experience, coach them on how to improve for the next time.

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