Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Failing Forward - by John Maxwell

Have you ever failed at something?  I have.  Have you let the weight of that perceived failure hang over your head longer than it should have?  Another yes for me!

John Maxwell has hit the nail on the head in this outstanding book on learning how to fail forward, in other words, how to learn from your failures so that you don't stay in the same failure-producing patterns.

This book gave me a fresh perspective on the failure/s in my life.  I see them as God's instruments to teach me deep and valuable lessons.  I see them as a way to know who I really am (not who I thought I was!) and what I really need to work on.  I see them as a step toward brokenness.  I see them as an opportunity to develop maturity and resilience so that I can get up, dust myself off, and keep going.  I see them as a milestone, a 'marker' in my life that allows me to ring every drop of growth from it so that I can improve on my future performance. 

When I look over the variety of failures in my life, large or small, I can see clearly that God had something to teach me, and that I needed to learn it through experience. Beck Weather states, "...You never know who you are and what you are until you've really been tested.  You gain a whole lot more from having failure kicked up from around your ears than success could ever teach you." 

More than anything else, I can now more deeply distinguish between something that 'failed' versus seeing myself as a 'failure.'  Big difference.  There is a time for personal learning and growth, and a time to get up and move on and try again. 

Maxwell gives 15 points on how to 'fail forward':
  1. Realize there is one major difference between average people 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 your 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 it 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.
You've got to read the book to understand his points...and its well worth it!  No matter if you are dealing with a small or big failure in your life, or simply preparing for the possibility of it, this is a fantastic book to read.

Its never, ever, ever too late to 'fail forward!'

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