Learning to Love the Learning Process

Fear is an uncomfortable topic for obvious reasons.

Often, we think the older we get, the braver we become.

However, just because we know monsters aren’t in the closet doesn’t mean we are free from fear.  In fact, there is one that we seem to learn as we grow and might get worse as we age.

What I’m talking about is the fear of failure.

Some believe that this can be a motivator for hyper-achievement and greater success. Yet, few will argue that it can’t also have adverse and debilitating effects on the performance and growth of others.

In fact, back in 2015, a YouGov poll found that 1 in 3 Americans said that they were scared of failure. About half (49%) admitted that this fear was the biggest roadblock keeping them from reaching or revisiting their goals.

Recent research from Nyenrode Business University and IE University backs this up and shows it to be an international phenomenon. It found that 1 in 2 people feel they would be able to perform better at work if they were less worried about their mistakes. That number rose to 60-70% for younger, higher-educated professionals.


Maybe it’s because we tell ourselves that we’re perfectionists; it’s better to play it safe.

However, if we scale that up to an organizational level, innovation becomes impossible.

How do you keep up with the industry if you’re not willing to put yourself out there, try new things, and be innovative, even if it means making a mistake?

This is why our R & D team is such an inspirational group of folks: They are driven by the scientific method, meaning they embrace mistakes.

They know the only way to think outside the box is to not put yourself into one.

Rapid Iteration: Finding Success From Failing Fast, Often, and Better

At Edlong, one of the significant benefits we offer our customers is our Rapid Iteration model.


By leveraging our team’s experience and expertise in all things dairy, we work swiftly to move from ideation to implementation and back to the drawing board again and again as many times as needed to get it right.

With science, a mistake isn’t a failure; it’s simply eliminating one possibility to bring you closer to success. Embracing the process of trial and error allows us to move quickly from possibilities to solutions.While not everyone is science-minded, implementing this approach can help anyone grow in their
careers and daily lives.
I personally know that, as someone who’s been encouraged to be safe most of my life, some of the most empowering moments I’ve had in my career or my life, in general, are those where I’ve put myself out there and tried something new.

And it scales.

We know from experience how rewarding it is for our employees and Edlong as an organization.

The question is, how can a company instill this mindset into its employees when this fear of failure is so pervasive?

By living our values.

Valuing the Learning Process Through Our Values

If it seems like I am always talking about Edlong’s core values, it’s probably because I am.

But there is a reason behind that. They really do form that foundation and basis for everything we do, and embracing the learning process is no different.

Allow me to illustrate:

All in this together

How often have you felt scared to try something because you feared the burden of a mistake would fall entirely on you? There is no shortage of companies where employees feel this way.

But at Edlong, with a focus on collaboration and active leadership, no one has to face this alone.

We are all in this together

Fully Committed to Growth

We want people to be their best selves, but you can’t do that without growing. Growth requires the individual to step out of their comfort zone—not to get rid of it, but rather to expand it!

Finding a Better Way

This is the heart of the scientific mindset and where innovation happens.

Is every idea going to be a winner? Of course not. But it doesn’t have to be. Still, this willingness to try new ideas, even at the risk of them not working, is how we find better ways to serve customers, improve the organization, and develop innovative solutions.

We Enjoy Victory And Grow From Defeat

Growth from Defeat

This is where all these values come together and what drives so much of our success as individuals and an organization. We never stop learning.

At Edlong, we believe our mistakes don’t define us; it’s about how we collectively and individually respond to them.

That’s why when something goes wrong (and it will), wereflect, learn, and grow from that experience.  Handling hardship together allows us to share in the joy of our successes that much more.

At the end of the day, we believe that a mistake isn’t a failure until you give up.

With over a century of continued industry-leading innovation and being named one of the “Best Places to Work in IL” for the ninth consecutive year, we aren’t giving up any time soon.

About the Author: Kami Hunt – Senior Human Resources Manager

I  am passionate about supporting employees throughout life stages, difficult times and times of great success and celebration. As an HR professional, I am committed to fostering a workplace that employees love to work at by constantly re-evaluating how my approach can better benefit both employees and the company. Leveraging my knowledge as a certified PHR and SHRM-CP, I live by the mission to treat each day as an opportunity to learn and better care for those around me that may need a helping hand or listening ear. Experienced in various industries, I am comfortable wearing multiple hats, managing multiple projects, and prioritizing initiatives.

Topics: Employee SpotlightGiving Back
Resource Type: Article
Resource Region: US


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