Why Failing Forward is the Only Way to Succeed

Does the word failure cause you to panic?  Are you so afraid of failing that you won’t even try new things?

failing forward

Most of my high school and college years were spent in constant worry about failing.  I had to get the best grades.  I must play each piano piece perfectly.  I needed to get the perfect job and had to be the best husband to my wife.

In John Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success, Maxwell emphasizes the importance of failing forward every single time.

Using some of the principles in his book, let’s look at why failing forward is the only way to succeed.

Reason #1: Because failing forward “controls” the outcome.

There are times in life where it feels as if everything is out of our control.  It almost seems that life just happens to us and we better hold on and take it as it comes.

However, we need to take stock of those things that we can control in our life.  Once we reach adulthood we can control where we work, where we live, what we drive, what we eat, who we associate with, etc.

So, if you don’t like where you work, you can change it!  And even if you apply for jobs and are not offered the position, you must remain diligent to see it as momentary.  In the scope of your life, it’s so small!  It seems larger than it really is.

Who cares if it takes you 10 years to figure out your sweet spot in a career?  The time is going to pass anyway.  So, try new things.  Go for new positions.  And start side businesses until you find the right one that fits.  Fail forward.

Reason #2: Because failing forward “rewards” the persistent.

If it truly takes failing forward to succeed, then persistence must be rewarded.  So let’s keep failing forward!

Is your marriage suffering?  Keep at it!  Read more relationship books.  Try new communication techniques.  Get support from others.  And if it doesn’t work, be persistent!

Persistency really goes with failing forward.  How did we learn to ride a bike as a kid?  By failing over and over until we perfected our mistakes and figured it out.

Pick your bicycle back up, and keep going.

Reason #3: Because failing forward “continues” the action steps.

One of the main hindrances I see in myself and others is the failure to take action.  There is no way to fail forward if you are not taking action.

For years I thought this meant I had to take action to become an outgoing, energetic and super happy person.  Only then would I succeed in a job or in my own side business.

What I have instead realized is that I needed to take action within my personality type.  Do I step out of my comfort zone?  Yes!  Do I stay there all the time? No!

Continuing the action steps of moving toward my goal of having a full-time online coaching business in the next 5 years is what’s important.

Reason #4: Because failing forward “pushes” the known boundaries.

Do you even know what you are capable of?  Are you saying “I can’t do that” because you’ve never actually tried it?

I think one of the great mysteries of adulthood is the self-imposed limitations we have.  As a child, I never thought anything was impossible!  If my mind could imagine it, I thought I could achieve it!

Failing forward helps adults push our own boundaries and move toward actual success.  It may sound cliché but if you can believe it, you really can achieve it!

Don’t let another year pass by only to realize that nothing has changed for you.  If you desire to really find your fit in work and in life, start failing forward today.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Do.  – Mark Twain





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