“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”
This quote by Helen Keller says everything we need to know about community. While the buzzword “synergy” is a little (or a lot) played out in the business world, there is a reason it was so overused. That reason is simple: The synergy of a community of people with a common goal or interest or concern far surpasses the energy of the individuals in the community. Through some magic, the act of combining our energy somehow makes more energy.
If you want to magnify the value and benefit of your failures, then don’t do it alone — fail in a community. Preferably a community who is interested in whatever you are failing at. Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger coined the term “Communities of Practice” in the early 1990s. The term is broadly used to represent a group of people who engage in a community that is centered around a specific interest or practice.
I’m not ready to coin the term, “Community of Failure”, but there is legitimate value in failing with others – particularly in the company of others who have an interest in the specific domain of the failure. Here are some benefits for your consideration:
1. Moral support.
2. Learn from the failure of others (possibly one of the few things better than learning from your own failures.)
3. A Community of Failure gives you some great people to discuss with.
4. Something in a group tends to help us push ourselves.
5. When you become a more experienced member of the group, you can cement your own skills by mentoring less experienced members of the group (also, it never hurts to just give back).
6. Synergy. Yup, I said it. It’s a real thing, even if we talk about it too much.