Fail Forward Towards Success

The courage to always get back up after we have been knocked down is a special gift….

From time to time, we all experience some degree of self doubt, myself included. This can manifest itself even further when we look on and see the success achieved by others, which sometimes creates a feeling that we are lagging behind. In retrospect, these feelings may result from an underlying fear that we are failing, our views of what others may think or worst yet, lack of confidence in our own abilities. While all these feelings are quite normal, they should never be allowed to cripple our ability to push forward. It is vitally important that we realise that failing forward should be seen as progress too and be prepared to make the most important decision of our lives – to keep moving. Ironically, failure happens to be the most effective teacher of all times; offering us some very invaluable life lessons.


For most persons if not all, failure to act means that we rarely live to reach our fullest potential. If we were all to give some thought to some of the ideas, dreams or personals goals that we have failed to pursue up to this point because of fear, what would you come up with? This is by far one of the biggest challenges impacting our personal and professional development today. In this highly complex and volatile world, it is so much easier to default to what we know; that warm, fuzzy place called our “comfort zone”. For us to continue to learn and grow, we must allow ourselves to be stretched whike taking intentional actions that guide us away from a place where we fail to grow. There is significant value in stepping beyond those self-established boundaries and forging ahead to overcome the underlying fear that is holding us back.

The greatest mistake we make is living in fear that we will make one.”

John C. Maxwell

The reality is that in order to reach the next level, we must be prepared to take and manage calculated risks that align with our desired goals. And yes, that comes with the risk of failure, yet we must be prepared to do it anyway. This approach will almost certainly take us outside of our comfort zone and overtime, will cultivate the capacity needed to achieve much greater success. Maintaining an open mind in changing circumstances or adversity helps us to better embrace change, while creating the resilience needed to overcome the fear of failure. Be always mindful of this notion of “smooth sailing” as it rarely adds any value to creating a progressive life. The challenges and obstacles presented to us are what really helps to build the foundation needed for us to do more and achieve more. We must be bold enough to envision our lives at the next level and courageous enough to take the steps necessary to get us there. Embracing the journey means that we are prepared to face the potential of short term failure for long term success.

Trust me when I tell you I know too well that feeling like you have failed is never a good feeling, yet it has always been the perfect motivator that propelled me to keep trying. In evaluating a business opportunity earlier this year, a colleague said to me that she was not keen to enter a national program because she did not think the company would win. Well, I begged to defer because I tend to always see value in being a part of the process. Don’t get me wrong, I love to win! But truthfully, I have learnt so much about myself just from “not winning or not being selected”. These situations in life help us to fail forward towards success. Generally, we gain higher levels of self awareness and in many instances, a much greater understanding of what is required to win or stay in the game.

The situations in life that cause us to fail forward tend to be our most rewarding experiences. We emerge more confident at the prospects of success, which helps to fuel our hunger and passion to conquer new opportunities. In hindsight and based on my own personal experience, it many times feels like the higher the level, the bigger the obstacles we are forced to navigate. With the understanding that this can be very intimidating or overwhelming at the time, these also happen to be the most defining moments where our courage and tenacity is significantly nurtured for the future.

In the wake of this ongoing crisis, there is still value in stepping up and stepping forward. We simply cannot afford for the uncertainty or fear of failure to cripple us to the point of inaction or indecisiveness. Adopting a mindset shift that causes us to embrace change and new challenges is likely to have a more positive long-term impact on our lives. It is time to use reverse psychology on the fear that’s holding us back. Allow your dreams to take shape to the point where you are driven to move to develop executable action plans, while remaining confident that either way, the final outcome will always teach us valuable life lessons that help us to learn and grow, propelling us closer towards our God-given potential.

One thought on “Fail Forward Towards Success

  1. Great article. The idea of failing forward is not something which many of us learn as children or young adults, and it takes a growing process, usually in our careers, to come to that level of understanding.
    I want to challenge you to do a future article on the thinking and actions which are necessary for us to know we have failed forward and how to learn from it.
    Sometimes, the mere thought process, a skill you developed, a mind opening conversation. These are all moments where we moved forward in life, even as we did not get the grant, job or whatever goal was in sight.
    Keep sharing Alison.

    Liked by 1 person

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