3 Ways to Fail Successfully

Some failures are useful, but not all.

Failure is useless when caused by…

  1. Lack of effort.
  2. Dishonesty.
  3. Intentional deviation.

Deal quickly and firmly with useless failure.

failure explains what isn't working

Useful failure teaches you what isn’t working.

The sooner you accept what isn’t working, the sooner you can change trajectory.

Success teaches you what to repeat; failure what to change.

5 benefits of failure:

  1. Vulnerability. Healthy failure strengthens connections by opening hearts.
  2. Honesty. “I screwed up,” is a moment of profound honesty, as long as it isn’t followed with, “but…”
  3. Responsibility. How will you own your failure? Learning begins when you take responsibility, not until.
  4. Flexibility. What will you do differently next time?
  5. Reflection. Perhaps the greatest opportunity of failure is reflection. Rather than closing down, open up.

3 positive uses of failure:

  1. Inspiration. Inspire others by flaunting the failures you have overcome. You’re uninspiring if your life has been easy.
  2. Insight. You see strategies and practices that don’t work.
  3. Development. Failure identifies skill gaps and wrong beliefs.

3 ways to fail successfully:

  1. Ask “what” not “who.” “What” is about learning. “Who” is about blaming.
  2. Dig into failure – reject generalities. Look for specific practices that cause failure, for example.
  3. Explore what didn’t happen.

The sooner you face failure, the sooner you can find success. The longer you hide failure, the worse it gets.

How might leaders fail successfully?