Fail Forward
Turn Mistakes Into
Steps to Success
by Alex Rascanu
alex@alexrascanu.com
at the Learning Enrichment Foundatio...
To succeed, you need only 4 things:

i.
ii.
iii.
iv.

Relationships (ability to get along with others)
Equipping (those cl...
changing your
attitude about failure.

Today we’ll focus on

My intention is to help you turn mistakes into steps to succe...
4 steps to failing forward:
1. Realize there is one major difference
between average people and
achieving people.
2. Get a...
1. The one major difference between average
people and achieving people
What makes the difference? Why do some people achi...
The difference between average
people and achieving ones
is their perception of and
response to failure.
Nothing else has ...
“There is no doubt in my mind that there
are many ways to be a winner, but there is
really one way to be a loser and that ...
Some of the attitudes I’ve had about failure (have you had
similar experiences?):

1. I feared failure (“1 of 3 of you won...
“People are training for success when they
should be training for failure.
Failure is far more common than success;
povert...
Aim for success, but also learn to confidently look the
prospect of failure in the eye and move forward anyway.

The quest...
Motivational speakers like to ask “If the possibility of failure
were erased, what would you attempt to achieve?” It’s an
...
Regardless of the type of difficulties you’re facing, the key to
overcoming them doesn’t lie in changing your circumstance...
2. Get a new definition of failure and success

“The difference between greatness and
mediocrity is often how an individua...
How should you judge failure?
a. People think failure is avoidable – it’s not
Know that you’re going to fail and makes mis...
How should you judge failure? (continued)

b. People think failure is an event – it’s not
Success isn’t a destination, it’...
How should you judge failure? (continued)

c. People think failure is objective – it’s not
You are the only person who can...
How should you judge failure? (continued)
d. People think failure is the enemy – it’s not
Most people try to avoid failure...
How should you judge failure? (continued)
e. People think failure is a stigma – it’s not

“Defeat may serve as well as vic...
How should you judge failure? (continued)
f. People think failure is final – it’s not

Steps to success:
1. Afraid of bein...
How can you learn a new definition of failure and develop
a different perspective on failure and success?
By making mistak...
3. Remove the “you” from failure
Tell yourself, “I’m not a failure. I failed at
doing something.” There’s a big difference...
7 abilities needed to fail forward:
1. Achievers reject rejection (take responsibility for your actions, but don’t
take fa...
Don’t wait until you feel positive to move forward. Take
action toward you goal and you’ll start feeling better.
4. Take action and reduce your fear

3 forms of inaction when people are stuck
in a fear cycle:

a. Paralysis (people give...
b. Procrastination (‘opportunity’s natural assassin’)
c. Purposelessness (side-effects include self-pity, excuses, misused...
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that
is must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed....
4 steps to failing forward:
1. Realize there is one major difference
between average people and
achieving people.
2. Get a...
Sources
Main source and recommended reading: “Failing Forward: Turning
Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” by John ...
Fail Forward, How to Turn Mistakes into Steps to Success
Fail Forward, How to Turn Mistakes into Steps to Success
Fail Forward, How to Turn Mistakes into Steps to Success
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Alex Rascanu delivered the "Fail Forward, How to Turn Mistakes into Steps to Success" presentation at the Learning Enrichment Foundation on November 20, 2013. More details about the presentation can be found at http://www.alexrascanu.com/fail-forward-turn-mistakes-into-success.

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Fail Forward, How to Turn Mistakes into Steps to Success

  1. 1. Fail Forward Turn Mistakes Into Steps to Success by Alex Rascanu alex@alexrascanu.com at the Learning Enrichment Foundation November 20, 2013
  2. 2. To succeed, you need only 4 things: i. ii. iii. iv. Relationships (ability to get along with others) Equipping (those closest to you influence your level of success) Attitude (your attitude, more than you aptitude, determine your altitude) Leadership (to be more effective, improve your leadership skills)
  3. 3. changing your attitude about failure. Today we’ll focus on My intention is to help you turn mistakes into steps to success.
  4. 4. 4 steps to failing forward: 1. Realize there is one major difference between average people and achieving people. 2. Get a new definition of failure. 3. Remove the “you” from failure. 4. Take action and reduce your fear.
  5. 5. 1. The one major difference between average people and achieving people What makes the difference? Why do some people achieve so much? Is it… • Family background? It’s something to be grateful for, but no. A high percentage of successful people come from broken homes. • Wealth? No, many great achievers come from households of below-average to average means. • Opportunity? Opportunity is in the eye of the beholder. Two people with similar gifts, talents and resources can look at a similar situation, and one will see opportunity while the other sees nothing. • High morals? No. Both you and I know people with high integrity who achieve little, as well as dishonorable people who are high producers. • The absence of hardship? For every achiever who has avoided tragedy there’s a Nick Vujicic who overcame extreme physical disabilities or countless people who have survived great horrors.
  6. 6. The difference between average people and achieving ones is their perception of and response to failure. Nothing else has the same kind of impact on people’s ability to achieve and to accomplish whatever their hearts and minds desire.
  7. 7. “There is no doubt in my mind that there are many ways to be a winner, but there is really one way to be a loser and that is to fail and not look beyond the failure.” (Kyle Rote Jr.)
  8. 8. Some of the attitudes I’ve had about failure (have you had similar experiences?): 1. I feared failure (“1 of 3 of you won’t make it”) 2. I misunderstood failure (it’s not a percentage or a test, and it’s not a single event. It’s a process) 3. I was unprepared for failure (assessed as “not a strategic thinker” when that is one of my biggest assets)
  9. 9. “People are training for success when they should be training for failure. Failure is far more common than success; poverty is more prevalent than wealth; and disappointment is more normal than arrival.” (J. Wallace Hamilton, in Leadership Magazine)
  10. 10. Aim for success, but also learn to confidently look the prospect of failure in the eye and move forward anyway. The question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with them. Are you going to fail forward or backward?
  11. 11. Motivational speakers like to ask “If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve?” It’s an interesting question that can prompt us to ponder upon our lives’ possibilities. But it’s a bad question. There’s no achievement without failure. The framing of the question gives people the wrong expectation. Here’s a better question: “If your perception of and response to failure were changed, what would you attempt to achieve?” (John C. Maxwell, leadership author and speaker)
  12. 12. Regardless of the type of difficulties you’re facing, the key to overcoming them doesn’t lie in changing your circumstances. It’s in changing yourself. Make a commitment to fail forward. Failing Backward Failing Forward Blaming others Taking responsibility Repeating the same mistakes Learning from each mistake Expecting never to fail again Knowing failure is a part of progress Expecting to continually fail Maintaining a positive attitude Being limited by past mistakes Taking new risks Thinking “I am a failure” Believing something didn’t work Quitting Persevering
  13. 13. 2. Get a new definition of failure and success “The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake.” (Nelson Boswell) Don’t quickly judge isolated situations in your life and label them as failures. Keep the bigger picture in mind. Such a perspective leads to perseverance, which gives you more opportunities for success.
  14. 14. How should you judge failure? a. People think failure is avoidable – it’s not Know that you’re going to fail and makes mistakes. Here are the Rules for Being Human: Rule #1: You will learn lessons. Rule #2: There are no mistakes – only lessons. Rule #3: A lesson is repeated until it is learned. Rule #4: If you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder. (i.e. pain will be your teacher) Rule #5: You’ll know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change.
  15. 15. How should you judge failure? (continued) b. People think failure is an event – it’s not Success isn’t a destination, it’s a journey you take. And whether you succeed comes from what you do day to day. Success is a process. The same applies to failure – it’s the process of how you deal with life along the way. John Maxwell provides a useful definition for success in his book “The Success Journey”: SUCCESS = knowing your purpose in life + growing to reach your potential + sowing seeds that benefit others
  16. 16. How should you judge failure? (continued) c. People think failure is objective – it’s not You are the only person who can label what you do a failure. Did you know that the average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they build a successful company? (source: Tulane University professor Lisa Amos) They don’t see setbacks as failures, so they overcome difficult odds and become successful.
  17. 17. How should you judge failure? (continued) d. People think failure is the enemy – it’s not Most people try to avoid failure, but it takes adversity to create success. “Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching I’ve learned from making mistakes.” (NBA coach Rick Pitino) Observe that high achievers don’t see failure as the enemy. Musicologist Eloise Ristad said that “when we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.”
  18. 18. How should you judge failure? (continued) e. People think failure is a stigma – it’s not “Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.” (US Senator Sam Ervin Jr.) Don’t let the mistakes you’ve made get you down. And don’t let yourself think of them as stigmas. Make each failure a step to success.
  19. 19. How should you judge failure? (continued) f. People think failure is final – it’s not Steps to success: 1. Afraid of being a fool 2. Looks like a fool 3. Fool 4. Successful entrepreneur 5. Genius
  20. 20. How can you learn a new definition of failure and develop a different perspective on failure and success? By making mistakes. When you take on the next project, give yourself a quota of mistakes to make and try to hit it before bringing the task to completion. Even if you surpass it, increase the quota. Remember, mistakes don’t define failure. They’re just the price of achievement on the success journey.
  21. 21. 3. Remove the “you” from failure Tell yourself, “I’m not a failure. I failed at doing something.” There’s a big difference. All great achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in the face of rejection and failings, they continue believing in themselves and refuse to consider themselves failures. Give each project your very best. Regardless of what the results will be, you’ll have a clear conscience.
  22. 22. 7 abilities needed to fail forward: 1. Achievers reject rejection (take responsibility for your actions, but don’t take failure personally) 2. Achievers see failure as temporary 3. Achievers see failures as isolated incidents (don’t let incidents colour your view of yourself) 4. Achievers keep expectations realistic (goal <-> effort required) 5. Achievers focus on strengths (focus on developing and maximizing your strengths, but address a weakness if it’s a matter of character) 6. Achievers vary approaches to achievement 7. Achievers bounce back
  23. 23. Don’t wait until you feel positive to move forward. Take action toward you goal and you’ll start feeling better.
  24. 24. 4. Take action and reduce your fear 3 forms of inaction when people are stuck in a fear cycle: a. Paralysis (people give up any hope of moving forward) “The worst danger we face is the danger of being paralyzed by doubts and fears. This danger is brought about those who abandon faith and sneer at hope. It is brought on by those who spread cynicism an try to blind us to the chance to do good for mankind.” (US President Harry Truman)
  25. 25. b. Procrastination (‘opportunity’s natural assassin’) c. Purposelessness (side-effects include self-pity, excuses, misused energy, and hopelessness) “A life spent in making mistakes is not online more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” (playwright George Bernard Shaw) You can’t avoid fear or wait for motivation to get you going. To conquer fear, you need to feel the fear and take action anyway.
  26. 26. “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that is must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows that is must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up you had better be running.” (African parable)
  27. 27. 4 steps to failing forward: 1. Realize there is one major difference between average people and achieving people. 2. Get a new definition of failure. 3. Remove the “you” from failure. 4. Take action and reduce your fear.
  28. 28. Sources Main source and recommended reading: “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” by John Maxwell Media sources: Slide 7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_Vg4uyYwEk Slide 12: http://michaelhyatt.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/john-maxwell.png Slide 17: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UizlkbS61mQ Slide 19: http://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/celebrity/what-does-rick-pitino-get-forwinning-the-ncaa-tournament/ Slide 20: http://www.golubphoto.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/01_Sam-Ervin.jpg Slide 24: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6hz_s2XIAU Slide 27: http://www.mjfbc.com/uploads/6/2/3/8/6238837/9350612_orig.jpg?1 and http://www.biography.com/imported/images/Biography/Images/Profiles/T/Harry-Truman9511121-1-402.jpg Slide 29: http://guysneedhelp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/lion-chasing-gazelle-quoteafrican-safari-pic.jpg

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