Falling Up The Stairs: Mistaking Your Way to Excellence

When I was young I loved stairs! Going up I would try to leap over as many as I could in one giant lunge. Going down I’d hold on to the railings and see how many I could skip. One time I made it all the way down my grandmother’s staircase in two steps!

I’m grateful I’ve never had a bad accident on stairs. But I have fallen. Falling down the stairs is scary and dangerous. Falling backwards down the stairs is even worse – I’ve done that too. But what about falling up the stairs? Here’s what falling up the stairs has taught me about making mistakes.

The future meets you faster than expected. When you fall up the stairs your landing spot is closer than if you are walking on flat ground, so you hit sooner and learn quicker.

You are still making progress. When you fall up the stairs you are still ahead of where you started.

It doesn’t hurt as bad. Falling up the stairs isn’t as dangerous, and you rarely sustain long-lasting injuries.

Railings help. Having something (or someone) to hold on to boosts courage and makes it easier to get up.

What if we approached mistakes like we approach stairs. Climbing is how we make progress. Keeping it safe will get you there eventually, but that’s boring, predictable, and slow. When we get resourceful about how we climb, though, we increase our chance of making a mistake.

What if we took risks in ways that helped us fall up the stairs instead? Here are three tips for mistaking your way to excellence.

  1. Lean forward, lean in.
  2. Have your hands out, ready to respond.
  3. Pick yourself up quickly and adjust.
  4. Use your support system.

As a leader, parent, teacher, coach, mentor, or facilitator, how do you help your people fall up the stairs? You can help them get to the future faster while still making progress and minimizing the damage.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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