I recently wrote a blog on VoiceNation.com called “Risky Business”. If you happened to read it, then you’ll probably be able to connect the dots for yourself as you read this post I have aptly titled, “Hater’s gonna hate but failure ain’t your fate.” It’s true! Everyone has experienced the effects of being around someone who is negative, condescending, and ultimately a class A “hater.” But do you know who your biggest hater is? YOURSELF! Your ego will bring you down faster than any of your bosses or colleagues. Why? Because you are out to destroy yourself. (Shhhh! It’s a secret. You don’t want yourself to know that, so don’t blame me for telling you!) No, I’m not just making this up. Let’s dig into to the brilliant mind of John C. Maxwell and see what he has to say about “Failing Forward.”
“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and their response to failure. This impacts every aspect of their lives. Failure is not a single event, it is a process.” – John C. Maxwell
Whoa, hold on there Mr. Maxwell, you’re telling us that if we respond to our failures “correctly” then they can actually set us up for success?! Precisely. Maxwell’s whole theory behind one of his top-selling business novels, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones, is the idea that if you can harness all the energy that you spend worrying about failing and instead put it towards learning from those failures, you can actually succeed more than you ever thought you could. Alright, so now that we’ve discovered that it IS possible to “fail forward”, how do we go about this?
Keeping in conjunction with risky business, Maxwell states that taking risks is actually one of the most helpful tools in the “fail forward” process.
“Risk allows for pioneering. Nothing can be accomplished if we don’t take any chances at all. How do you judge if some activity is worth the risk? Risk must be evaluated neither by the fear that it generates nor by the probability of success but by the value of the goal.” – John C. Maxwell
Failing forward is taking the “u” out of failure. It means learning a new definition of failure and success, changing your response by taking responsibility for your failures, finding the benefit in every bad experience, taking risks, learning from bad experiences, and working on strengthening what weakens you. We have all had times where we had no idea how to get off the couch and get moving again, but don’t be ashamed if that’s you right now. There is always a way to fail forward — the trick is just finding what works best for you!
If you’re stuck and unmotivated because of past moments of preconceived failure, call 1-800….just kidding. Actually what I want you to do is take this as the catalyst you need to redefine the way you think. Do not let fear of failure control the decisions that you make. Get out and seize every opportunity that comes your way, even if it seems scary. It’s worth it, and so are you!