Failing Forward to a Better Tomorrow

Failing Forward – Taking the Lesson from the Loss

We’ve all fallen short at one time or another. Sometimes, it’s almost more than we think we can bear. There’s a peculiar stigma associated with this process wherein we sometimes attach shame/blame to the shortfall and make it personal.

We internalize the loss or the failure and, if we’re not careful, can believe it’s because we’re not ‘good enough’ somehow. That’s dangerous thinking, and that kind of thinking will prevent your long-term success more than just about any other thought pattern. This kind of approach can spiral out of context and weigh us down instead of lifting us up when we need it most. Instead, what if we look at it as a lesson on what not to do? What if we put the failure aside from our individual value and instead recognized it as what it truly is – just one way that doesn’t work to achieve our goal? And, having identified this path that doesn’t work, can we reset and resume along another path that just might work?

What if we could all apply this kind of thinking when we make a mistake?

None of us are perfect, and none of us will get through life without making some mistakes along the way. What if we used those mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, instead of beating up on ourselves (or our circle of influence) for not ‘getting it right.’

Michael Jordan, one of the all-time greatest NBA players, once said,

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

You know how much practice is involved in doing well in sports, or playing an instrument well, or even flawlessly applying your makeup in the morning. Remember how hard you’ve worked and how much you’ve practiced to get the skills down that you learned at American Institute…and know that you’re still learning and growing in your career. Practice is how we improve our skills, and anything – literally anything! – you want to achieve that is worthwhile will require you do put in some practice time to do well. This fall season, take a moment and think of a mistake you’ve made in the last few months, and try to see it for the opportunity it presents to ‘practice’ on your way to your goal – and as we head into the new year, let’s ‘fail forward’ to greater heights!