In advertising, we love winning. We love it so dang much that our industry created thousands of awards just so we could win something. But the reality is there are campaigns that underperform, processes that could be smoother, and clients that leave. And yah, an agency is really admitting they have flaws. Spoiler: all of us do. Perfection is a myth. Failure isn’t just ok. It’s an opportunity to regroup.

Admittedly, failures of any kind sting. Sure, we’re often told to accept it and move on. But what if we embraced it? Consider the following.

Stagnancy is worse

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll never reach your full potential. The odds of failure increase when you try something new. In the ad world, we’re always trying something new. It’s a new target. It’s a new media strategy. It’s pushing for creative that’s never been done before. You’re not going to get it right every single time. It’s a high risk for high reward business. If you don’t try new things, you don’t learn. If you’re too scared to fail, you’re holding back. Playing it safe is for children.

Failure is often the price for excellence. It creates experience. And experience is essential.

Setbacks reveal strength

No one sets out to fail. After a setback, you get to mope. Then, you get to work. It takes grit to own up to error and improve. The resilience behind a blunder is what really marks success. Failure can be one of the greatest motivators out there. It offers something success cannot; it ignites newfound purpose.

If we could be vulnerable for a moment, we’ll open up about how we lost one of our largest clients. They decided to create their own in-house agency. It’s becoming a common trend. The transition was graceful, and we maintained mutual respect, but we were shaken. It was a scary position to be in, but it revealed our guts. To oversimplify, we worked our butts off to find new clients. We’d like to believe we never took our longstanding clients for granted, but we’re as vigilant as ever.

Failure makes us stronger. Cue Britney Spears’ “Stronger.”

Errors ignite change

Failure exposes flaws, but it also provides opportunities to create solutions. It’s a time to re-evaluate. In order to get better, you have to note what went wrong and why. When the dust settles, you have to take the time to tally up the mistakes, look at the metrics, and then make adjustments. This kind of growth is hard. We’re not saying it doesn’t suck, we’re just saying it’s necessary.

Failure sparks improvement. You have to make effective changes.

It’s human to fail

Mistakes are ok, but not if you make the same one twice. Yes, failure kickstarts an uncomfortable process. But it helps those who push beyond it thrive. Don’t trust an individual or agency that doesn’t have a redemption story. People who know the pain of shooting high and failing — and have used that failure to become better — tend to be people you want on your team. *Whispers* Like Faktory.