Too often, we live in fear of failure. We live in fear of making mistakes. In spite of this, mistakes will be made.

Too often, bad leaders punish those that have made mistakes, never tolerating failure. In spite of this, mistakes will be made.

If we fear making mistakes, we do nothing, because if we did something, we might make a mistake. We revert to what we have always done, ironically, even if it isn’t working as well in the past. We wait and respond, so we don’t make a mistake, when that waiting may have been the mistake.

We don’t really learn as much as we might from success. The lessons of success don’t challenge us to change and improve. They only teach us to do more of the same, but that only works until things change.

We can learn from mistakes–we can learn huge amounts from mistakes, but we have to choose to. Too often, we fail to make that choice. And mistakes continue to be made.

Mistakes are good for one thing; they challenge us to learn, to figure things out, to grow, and to innovate. As you think about it, big changes and innovation come from how we learn from our mistakes; then how we leverage what we have learned into changing and taking action.

But there’s a note of caution. Sometimes I see people “gaming mistakes.” Sloppy preparation, bad execution, lack of focus and discipline, and pure laziness/not caring will inevitably cause us to fail. Ineptness is not an excuse.

We should not seek to make mistakes or fail. We should do everything possible to succeed. But mistakes will be made, often through no fault of our own.

It’s these mistakes that create opportunities for tremendous growth. It’s these mistakes that give us the opportunity to learn, grow, innovate and change.

Are you playing it safe, trying to avoid making mistakes—that’s a mistake, mistakes will happen.

Are you putting it all on the line? Are you stretching yourself, learning doing everything you can to succeed? Mistakes will happen–and that’s where we have the opportunity to make giant steps in learning, growth, and success.

Mistakes will happen. Take the advantage of what you can do with them.