10 Ways to Fail Your Way to Success


I hate failing. Failure feels like wasted life. Yes, I know I’m supposed to embrace failure and learn. But, given the choice, I’d succeed more!

I haven’t failed for lack of good intentions. Frankly, I’m troubled that the path down is faster than the path up.

Fear of failure:

Afraid to fail is afraid to try; afraid to try guarantees failure.

The fear of failure prevents success.

Stunning success stands atop many stunning failures. Edison said, “I’ve failed my way to success.”

10 Ways to Fail Well:

  1. Pursue next time more than last time.
  2. Reject finger pointing. Blame gets you off the hook but never produces success.
  3. Respond with optimism, not anger. Confidence answers anger; inadequacy fuels it.
  4. “Forgive and remember,” Bob Sutton in, Good Boss Bad Boss.
  5. Share lessons learned from failure. Leadership’s greatest influence occurs through failures. Frailty enhances your influence as long as it’s not an excuse.
  6. Seek clarity. Resist urges to close your eyes. Open them instead.
  7. Call “failure meetings” and ask, “What isn’t working?” Make talking about failure normal not taboo.
  8. Celebrate adaptation, if you can’t celebrate failure directly. “We changed.”
  9. Fail small in order to succeed large. Try, test, improve, and move forward. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  10. Dig into ways that failure makes you better. “Failure changes for the better, success for the worse.” Seneca

One cause:

Often I fail because I don’t listen. I know too much. I’ve learned confidence becomes over-confidence when it closes my ears. True confidence listens.

What’s at the root of many of your failures?

How can you or organizations fail well?

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