Learning To Fail Leads To Success

Failure is no bueno.

I don’t like it.

It makes me feel devalued and incompetent.

I feel like a 5th grader is smarter than me…

I am not trying to downplay 5th graders, but I am a graduate of elementary. It’s a pretty big deal.

For years, I thought I did not fail. I might have said something like “I am not perfect” or “I don’t know everything.” When deep down I thought, I was close to perfection and I knew almost everything. I might have been blind to arrogance in my life. Let’s just say I failed at humility.

The more I succeeded, the more I ignored failures. I maintained this way of thinking for years. Until I went through a season of failures. Back to back. One after the other. I made almost every kind of failure. The biggest failure I made, was being blind to it all.

So, I took a hard look at my track record and asked three questions:

1. How did I not see the failures coming?

2. How could I have prevented the failures?

3. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

The answers to those questions were not very fun.

Like I said, I don’t like to fail.

Actually, the more I think about it…

I don’t know many people who like to fail.

We all fail. There is no way around it. We fail in relationships. We fail in school. We fail at work. We fail at budgeting. We fail at communication. We fail. Plain and simple. No one is perfect (except Jesus).

But failure actually presents an irreplaceable season of opportunity.

When we fail, we have an opportunity to grow. When we fail, we need to first recognize it and own it. If we do not own it, we will quickly rationalize it away and miss an opportunity for growth. To achieve success, you have to grow. Truthfully speaking, successful people stand on a pile of failures like they have climbed a huge mountain that others thought was impossible to climb!

You and I can improve and get better through three practices:

1. Anticipate Failure

Failure is inevitable, so we need to anticipate and prepare for it. One of the best ways to anticipate failure is to look at a track record. Sit down and make a list assess all your failures from your profession to your personal life.

Solve a problem before it is a bigger problem. Unsolved problems lead to failures. If you can make a list of all your failures, you are one step closer to succeeding at what you do!

Craig Groeschel says, “The difference between a good leader and great leader is that great leaders learn to anticipate rather than react.” Click HERE to check out his podcast

2. Evaluate Failure 

Failure is the result of an absence of consistent evaluation. When you consistently evaluate your failures, you will grow in your anticipation of failures.

Now take the list you just created and with laser focus evaluate and analyze your failures. Ask questions like: When did this problem arise? What can I control? What can I improve and do better next time? Why did I fail? What would a win look like? This list will quickly turn into your self-improvement strategy. You will only get better if you evaluate your failures.

3. Receive Feedback 

Receiving feedback is not easy at first, but once you embrace this practice, you will begin to have one success after another. When you are ready to receive feedback from your boss, your peers, and your family, you will not only be able to anticipate failures before they arise on a big scale, you will be able to lead others through their failures. Click HERE to learn more about Receiving Feedback.

Everyone fails. You. Me. Your Neighbor. Your boss.

Don’t worry. You are not alone.

People have been failing for thousands of years.

Check out what Paul said to the church in Corinth.

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Paul said it best. Weaknesses and failures are a window of opportunity to let the power of Christ work through you and me.

— Abe Haley