Case Foundation – Do you keep a failure journal?

Failure is big these days. At our companies and in our careers we are encouraged to look at what we do wrong in order to improve. My reaction: why the either/or approach to documenting our work and growth?

I have always loved the idea of a gratitude journal, yet that often felt incomplete: nothing ever goes according to plan and if I’m not mindful about my mistakes, I can’t correct them. At the same time, focusing only on my failures, makes it difficult to find the bright spots that need to be strengthened and built on. In general, I am a big fan of letting go of things I am not good at.

I also like to see the big picture as very little of what we do happens in isolation. Therefore, my weekly notes usually look like this:

  • Who I am grateful for: Co-worker, family member, friend, mentor…our relationships are often the fuel and inspiration we need to do good work.
  • What went well this week and why: In addition to a pat on the back, it helps identify what I am doing that brings success.
  • What didn’t go well and why: Not just what didn’t go my way, but also mistakes I’ve made and how I can improve.

This quick list helps me stay positive while identifying patterns and habits I need to strengthen or break.

How about you? What do you do to track your work?