Failing Forward

images“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” Napoleon Hill

John C Maxwell wrote a great book called “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” (©2000 Maxwell Motivation Inc.).

Maxwell shares, “the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”

I’ve shared with you some of the things I’ve learned from past failures.

Here’s another great one:

I was asked, at a young age, to speak to a group of professional leaders. My friend had to cancel, and he asked if I would jump in. At 22 years of age, I didn’t know the word “NO”, so I said YES. I found myself standing before a group of leaders. The leaders had more experience than I did, they had more knowledge than I had, and I’m sure they were wondering what I was doing standing in front trying to be the expert. The seminar went OK, but I knew before I began that I was in way over my head. I got through it and committed myself to never be in that situation again… not the “speaking in front of leaders”, but the “being prepared and earning the right to speak before leaders.” While the experience was somewhat disastrous, it motivated me and pushed me to grow, learn and be the best that I can be.

Failing Forward.  It’s still failure, but you’re learning from it.

Maxwell shares these 8 examples of “Failing Backward” and “Failing Forward”:

BACKWARDS:  Blaming Others

FORWARDS:  Taking Responsibility

BACKWARDS:  Repeating the Same Mistake

FORWARDS:  Learning from Each Mistake

BACKWARDS:  Expecting to Never Fail

FORWARDS:  Knowing Failure is Part of the Process

BACKWARDS:  Expecting to Continually Fail

FORWARDS: Maintaining a Positive Attitude

BACKWARDS:  Accepting Tradition Blindly

FORWARDS:  Challenging Outdated Assumptions

BACKWARDS:  Being Limited by Past Mistakes

FORWARDS:  Taking New Risks

BACKWARDS:  Thinking “I am a Failure”

FORWARDS:  Believing Something Didn’t Work

BACKWARDS:  Quitting

FORWARDS:  Persevering

How are you doing with FAILURE? Does FAILURE paralyze you? Does it push you to other things?

Don’t let FAILURE stop you.  Do you best, but WHEN you fail, learn from it and move on.


Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 31 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. To learn more about Russ, visit: Write directly to Russ at: twitter: leadwithruss, leadermundial

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Personal Leadership Tagged with: , , ,


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