Fail up


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Failure happens. More often than we'd like. Why not make it work to your advantage by learning how to Fail Up?

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  • I love my work, which often feels like helping the metaphorical “fish” in the above quote find its way back to the water so it can express its natural genius. My clients are typically smart, sensitive, even spiritual souls who for whatever reason have found themselves in the position of fish trying to climb trees, and getting really down on themselves because it’s so difficult and frustrating.
  • Back in finance class, they taught us that riskier investments tend to yield a higher reward. This is true of life, now more than ever, as the possibility of having a risk-free and secure life is becoming even more unlikely. The 30 year job is gone…
  • Don’t get me wrong, I wish it had been easier and less painful, but as hard as it was, I am glad I went through that, it made me who I am.
  • So why not do what you want, why not do what makes your heart sing, why not try to change the world?
  • Don’t forget that the optimistic scenario has its own set of problems and challenges, too!
  • For many people, this is “financial planning” Also, you could win, and it could cause all sorts of problems.
  • This can be anything that scares you. Tell your dad you love him. Tell your spouse a secret about yourself. Public speaking. Say Hi to the cute guy / girl next to you. Ask for 20% off the TV you want to buy. Go line-dancing. Put in for a promotion. You get the idea. Be sensible though, no driving 100 on the highway, OK?
  • Fail up

    1. 1. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingHOW TO “FAIL UP!”David Kaiser, PhDExecutive Coach and CEODark Matter Consulting
    2. 2. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingAgenda•Introduction•Perspectives•Tools•Offer
    3. 3. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingIntroduction - Me• Executive Coach & Relationship Coach• Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker• Your Tour Guide Today…
    4. 4. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingWhat I Do“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, itwill live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”-Attributed to Albert Einstein•Sense of direction / purpose•Confidence•Leadership•Conflict resolution skills•Strengths, weaknesses and personal brand•Productivity / Time Management•Awesome relationships (professional and romantic)
    5. 5. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingRisk & RewardRiskReward
    6. 6. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingParable“You can be a Doctor, an Engineer, or a Failure”He wanted to be a writer, but he became anengineer…who drank…a lotThere are risks to not taking risks…
    7. 7. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThoughts to Set the Tone“Men and women of towering success befriendpain in one form or another…You think of painas an enemy, they think of it as a friend.”**Michael Kelly, Seven Levels of Intimacy
    8. 8. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingMore Thoughts…"Ive missed more than 9,000 shots in my career,Ive lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times Ivebeen trusted to take the game winning shot andmissed. Ive failed over and over and over in mylife. And thats why I succeed!"- Michael Jordan
    9. 9. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingFamous Failures in HistoryChristopher Columbus set sail for India!He never made it…
    10. 10. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingFamous Failures in HistoryAlexander Fleming returned from vacation tofind his petri dishes contaminated with mold…It turned out he had found penicillin
    11. 11. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingFamous Failures in History:Would you vote for this guy?Ran for state assembly, lostElected to state assembly for four termsElected to congress, one termRan for US Senate, lostRan for Vice President, lostRan for US Senate….lost again
    12. 12. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingNo?Too bad, you just voted againstAbraham LincolnThe poster child of “failing up”
    13. 13. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingFailureThink of someone you admire,political, religious, businesshe or she has known the sting of failure anddefeat
    14. 14. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingBottom Line:Failure isn’t “Bad”It’s part of life, an important earning experience,and the more you fail, the more you learn!Fail Often, Keep Learning!
    15. 15. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingLooking BackThink of a painful time in your life,and write it downWhat blessing came from that?
    16. 16. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingLooking BackWhat did you learn that made you a better /stronger person?If you say “nothing,” I encourage you to thinkagain
    17. 17. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingLooking BackMaybe you got a sense of determination, ormissionMaybe you learned how strong you really are,how much you can takeMaybe you learned to listen to the Divine
    18. 18. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingLooking Back – for meAfter finishing my PhD:Underemployed for almost three yearsUndiagnosed depressionFamily almost fell apartPain and shame
    19. 19. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingLooking Back – for meBlessings:I found my calling and my higher powerI learned skills to help othersI met awesome peopleI learned how to withstand heartbreak
    20. 20. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingConclusionIf you try something and succeed, yay!If you try something and fail, you still get someother blessing or learningSo…There’s really no such thing as failure, is there?
    21. 21. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingConclusionNo such thing as “failure”…pretty coolMy coach tells me (constantly)“sometimes amazing gifts come in an uglywrapper” – Jean-Pierre LeBlanc
    22. 22. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingTools & TacticsAssessing RiskThe Art of RecoveringBuilding your “Courage Muscle”
    23. 23. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingAssessing RiskToo often, we focus on the worst case scenario:“I will lose my money, my spouse will leave meand take the kids and the dog, and I will end upliving under the bridge in a cardboard box”How likely is that, really?
    24. 24. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingAssessing RiskInstead, think about the best case, worst caseand most likely scenarios.How likely is each?What could you learn in each?
    25. 25. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThe Lottery Ticket Example!You could buy a lottery ticketYou’ll probably only be out a few bucksNo big dealBut you don’t learn anything…
    26. 26. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThe Art of Recovering – Another ParableSTUDENT: Master, how come you never loseyour balance?MASTER: I am constantly losing my balance,but I quickly regain it
    27. 27. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThe Art of RecoveringThere is no shame in “failure”Clean up the messFind the BlessingMove on
    28. 28. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThe Art of RecoveringThink about past struggles…What helped you to recover?
    29. 29. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingBuilding Your “Courage” MuscleLearning COURAGE is simple:Just commit to doing three thingsthat scare the hell out of you each day…It doesn’t get easier (because you just raise thebar), but you get used to it
    30. 30. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThat *BIG* ThingYou know the one I’m talking about…•If it “succeeds,” what would that be like?•If it “fails,” what blessing or learning could comefrom it?•How could you recover if it “fails?”
    31. 31. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThat *BIG* ThingYou can pursue it, knowingYOU CAN’T FAIL!HOW COOL IS THAT?(although the results may not be what you expect)
    32. 32. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingThe Temptation!!!!You will be tempted to play itSafe because you are scaredIgnore this urge, and follow your vision and yourvalues
    33. 33. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingCaveatThat said, don’t be an impulsive idiot and thentell people Dave said it was OK, check with yourheart, head and gut, then do what is RIGHT
    34. 34. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingRe-Cap•Fail fast, keep learning•No such thing as “failure”•There is always a blessing and opportunity•Assess risk realistically•You can recover•Courage Muscle
    35. 35. Copyright © 2011 | Dark Matter ConsultingOffer(s)!•Two free white papers, on productivity and lifemission, at,when you subscribe to my newsletter•Complimentary “find your way to the stream ofyour genius” session. Email me