“Failing forward” what does that mean?

Part 6: Failing Forward

Learning to fail forward means we also try to avoid unnecessary failure. Therefore, we focus on our strengths. Great leaders and high-achievers operate from a position of strength and so enjoy a lower rate of failure than those working in areas of weakness. God uniquely designed us with specific gifts, skills and talents. So be diligent about finding expressions for them in your career and service to others.

We also want to vary our approaches. Most high-achieving millionaires, who made great fortunes by age 35, were involved in more than 12 businesses before they discovered the one that took them to great success. They kept trying and changing until they found the one that worked. High-achievers challenge the process, take risks, try new things, learn from mistakes, to continually improve and get better.

Failing forward means we “bounce back.” Reliving missteps and mistakes for too long damages concentration and eats away at self-confidence. When dealing with failure, achievers have short memories. They quickly forget the negative emotions of setbacks and press forward. Achievers learn life lessons but also realize that the past cannot be changed. We must learn from the past and move on to a better future.

It’s impossible for a person to believe he/she is a failure and move forward at the same time. For those of us who have failed or experienced loss or made mistakes, we don’t have to internalize them. My hope is that we learn to separate our disappointments and setbacks from our self-worth, and see failure and losses as stepping stones to help us. Failure is part of life and leadership. But our response to failure and loss may hold the key to our future. Let’s ask God to guide us on this journey of learning to fail forward to be better servant-first-leaders.

Written by: John Weaver

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