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Make your next failure a spectacular one

  • Published Thursday, May 2, 2013, at 7:08 a.m.

Everybody fails. The question is how. How spectacular is your failure? Here are five qualities of failures that increase their chance of becoming something spectacular.

1. It’s not personal. Failures are about everything except a person’s worth. It may feel embarrassing, painful, discouraging or even justified, and it’s not about who you are as a person.

If you or others make it personal, they are derailing the possibility of learning.

2. It’s about some thing that didn’t work. Failures are wonderful learning opportunities when we are able to examine what thing didn’t work. Strategy, planning, execution, whatever – find the thing that didn’t work so you can change it next time.

3. You are 100 percent responsible for what you do next. Blame gets you nowhere. Putting yourself down gets you nowhere. Take full ownership over your next step and make it constructive.

4. Sincere apologies go a long way. This is not about throwing yourself under the bus or taking all the blame. It’s about personal responsibility and integrity. Just because you or your team failed doesn’t mean you aren’t still a team. Apologize for your part and begin moving forward.

5. It’s not the first and it’s not the last failure. Put it in perspective. If you think this could never happen again, think again. If you think you’re doomed from now on, think again.

Life is full of failures. It’s what we do about them and with them that can make them spectacular.

Go forth and fail. Fail spectacularly!


Nate Regier, Ph.D., is a founding owner of Next Element Consulting, leadership development and communication training firm in Newton. Reach Regier at www.next-element.com.

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