Monday, May 9, 2011

Failing Forward

What’s up KD! I hope this blog finds you well. It’s been a while – I have been meaning to get this blog out, but I have been swamped.

This month’s blog is about failure… Well, at least, it’s about how to fail forward. Failing Forward is the title of a book from John Maxwell, whom you know is a favorite author of mine. The book talks about how people view failure incorrectly, which leads to lots of problems. In fact, the premise of the book is that there are 15 steps to failing forward. Since the book is awesome (I highly recommend it!!), I want to focus on the steps Maxwell states we need to take to fail forward.

I don’t know where each of you are in your career’s, but thanks to my experience in the MBA program, I am in the process of making a career change – from Education to Business. And while I know I have the skills and intellect to do well, the process has been an exercise in failing forward. Between the difference in communication between the fields, especially as it has to do with resumes, interviews, and jargon, it has been quite the learning experience. However, as I have continued to move forward with my plans to change careers, I have often reflected on the following 15 steps to fail forward, according to Maxwell.



  1. Realize there is one major difference between average and achieving people.

  2. Learn a new definition of failure.

  3. Remove the “you” from failure.

  4. Take action and reduce your fear.

  5. Change your response to failure by accepting responsibility.

  6. Don’t let the failure from outside get inside you.

  7. Say good-bye to yesterday.

  8. Change yourself, and the world changes.

  9. Get over yourself and start giving yourself.

  10. Find the benefit in every bad experience.

  11. If at first you do succeed, try something harder.

  12. Learn from a bad experience and make a good experience.

  13. Work on the weakness that weakens you.

  14. Understand there’s not much difference between failure and success.

  15. Get up, get over it, get going.

As KD students, either in the program, personal life, or career, you are going to have a time when you feel like you failed at something. For me, it has been various moments during this career change process, among several other things; just reflect on these 15 steps as you think about failing forward. When it comes to failure, as the great philosopher Jay-Z says, “It’s one to the next one…” For me, it has been truly helpful.

As a closing aside, I want to say thanks to Allyn Curry and the Kelley Graduate Career Services office. It has been quite a learning experience working with them so far during this career change process. I can’t imagine how lost I would be without Allyn straightening me out…

Well, KD, I hope that you think of some of these tips the next time you need to fail forward. Until next time, I’ll catch you later!!

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