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Podcast: Stacey Childress on why failure is her favorite word

  • Stacey Childress

"For all of us in entrepreneurship or more traditional leadership and management, I think the fear of failure sometimes holds us back from the most important things we could be doing.

To the degree that we can come to grips with the idea that failure is not the end of the line, professionally or otherwise, the bolder we will be in terms of the positions we’re going to take, the organizations we're willing to start, the stands we’re willing to take — and we’ll understand that failure is part of innovation, a part of trying new things.

Hopefully what we do is make different mistakes and fail at new things; hopefully not the same mistakes —hopefully newer, bigger and better mistakes."

— Stacey Childress

Stacey Childress flips The Leaders’ Table upside down this episode, sharing lessons learned from her role as CEO of The NewSchools Venture Fund and career as an entrepreneur.

From why finding a learner’s mindset is more important than being right, to avoiding getting super-scheduled with meetings, Stacey’s advice will help you reframe your workday.

3 insights to apply to your career today:

  1. There’s no perfect time for anything.

There’s never the perfect time to get started. A lot of times when I talk to people who are earlier in their careers, they're thinking about how to get the exact right set of experiences that will prove to an investor or other supporters that ‘I'm ready.’ That’s okay… but I would say that's not the way we typically see really successful entrepreneurs get going.

The key is: do you have an idea or some kind of insight about how a school or a tech tool — or whatever your idea or passion is — might actually work better for kids? The advice I would give people is, rather than focusing so much on building your credibility on paper, I would focus on testing out that idea.”

  1. Got an idea? Try it out. Then try it again. And again.

The sooner you are willing to get at it and pilot your idea in a low-stakes environment, the more confidence you’ll have that as the slings and arrows of new enterprise creation hit you, you're going to have the mindset to be able to persist, to adjust, to adapt.

  1. Learn to love critique.

“The best entrepreneurs are voracious and rapid learners, and they treat information — especially negative feedback — as just that, just data. The thing we're really looking for is a learner mindset: adaptability, persistence, desire and passion for receiving feedback, and the willingness and practices around seeking it out and building that into your design.

Tune in for other tips, tricks, insights and stories from Stacey and other education changemakers. #LeadersTablePodcast

Need to catch up on the #LeadersTablePodcast?
Check out Episode 1 with Ryan SmithEpisode 2 with Nina Rees, Episode 3 with Aixle Aman, Episode 4 with Luis Avila, Episode 5 with Jada Drew, Episode 6 with Amy Wilkins, Episode 7 with Marc Holley, Episode 8 with Jim Shelton, Episode 9 with Tai Dixon, or Episode 10 with Matt Candler -- and subscribe for upcoming episodes on your favorite podcast feed (iTunesStitcherSoundcloud).

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