3 Tips on Failing Forward and Building a Mindset for Success

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to hear John C Maxwell (a well known speaker and author) speak at a leadership conference I attended.

I mean people pay thousands of dollars to hear this man speak and I was able to experience this myself as just part of the business conference I was there to attend. AMAZING!

So knowing that many of you may not get to have the same experience I wanted to dedicate this blog to sharing the insights that I gained from hearing Mr. Maxwell speak and what resonated the most with me.


Yep, yesterday ended last night.

Before you dismiss this, seriously, just think about it for a second. It sounds so simple, yet it really was an eye opener for me. I mean I had a total ah hah moment that just clicked when I heard this.

I don’t know about you, but I have definitely spend more time then necessary dwelling on events that did not go down in my favor.

Depending on the circumstances and how severely they affected me, I would sometimes spend days being upset, discouraged or doubtful despite how much I tried to remind myself that God is in control.


I think back on it now and it infuriates me when I realize how much time, energy and productivity I wasted as a result of my own inability to let yesterday end last night.

The reality is that every new day brings as much opportunity to achieve the same the goals and desires as the day before, and the only things hindering us from seeing that are ourselves and our mindset.

The world goes on the exact same way as it did yesterday (for the most part), and we are the only ones in the position to change how we react and interact with each new day ahead of us.

Life is going to happen. Hardship, trials, obstacles, setbacks are all going to happen as a part of life and no one is exempt from this. So why do we let these things debilitate us so severely and define our value or self worth?

Why do we assume that when these things happen it determines the final outcome of what we are trying to achieve?

Even as a follower of Christ I still fall victim to these traps and the flawed mentality that everything that happens in my life is directly under my control and therefore a direct reflection of me in some way.  However, the reality is we are not in control of our lives, God is in control, but we are in control of how we react and respond to the circumstances and events God throws our way.

OUR RESPONSE to the various challenges in life is a direct reflection of ourselves, our faith and our mental toughness, not the events themselves.

So why do we give these circumstances such power over us? When I really sit and think about this it seems insane, but yet it’s so common.

These concepts and many others are very simple in nature, yet it is the ability to put these concepts into practice on a consistent basis that presents the challenge.

This is where knowledge on habit formation comes into play, but I’ll save that for another blog.

So a practical tip that John suggested to aim to implement is …


This idea states that you give yourself only 24 hours to get over any SUCCESS or failure. That’s it, 24 hours.

That means you can cry, scream, feel sorry for yourself, drink some wine and veg out or what the heck ever, but after that 24 hours is up you let it go.

Whether it was a success or failure.

So the interesting thing about this is in regards to success. You may not think that there would be anything inherently wrong with dwelling on a success for more then 24 hours, but it has the potential to hinder you as much as dwelling on a failure.

Because when you dwell on a success it can do a few things. It can make you complacent and keep you from being productive, taking risks, striving to better yourself, improving upon your weaknesses and pushing yourself further to possibly achieving more.

Clearly this may not be the case for everybody, but regardless I believe the concept is still worth noting.

In regards to only giving yourself 24 hours to dwell on a failure, I am 100 percent on board with that!

This does not mean the time you may take to analyze that circumstance to determine what future actions can be taken to adjust or learn from the failure, but the time you allow yourself to be emotionally distraught or unproductive.

So yeah, that is now a new rule for this girl! For me personally I am going to pair this practice with the addition of praying and reading scriptures that reinforce God’s words regarding various commands, including to be joyful in all circumstances and serve others before myself. All of which help me personally cultivate a proper perspective according to my faith.

This leads me the last concept I want to touch on…


This wasn’t necessarily based off of John’s presentation, but it’s the main concept he mentions in his book Failing Forward, that defines 15 steps on how to fail forward, that I really enjoyed.

Like I stated before, the concepts themselves are simple in nature, yet for some (myself included), they can be difficult to implement when the time comes.

But what everything went back to was having the right mentality about failure and understanding exactly what that meant.

I’m always coaching clients on how to develop a powerful mindset to help them achieve their health and fitness goals to minimize setbacks and recover from them quickly, but yet John elaborates on the fact that failing can often be the quickest way to success, and therefore we should welcome it.

What the heck? This concept was just craziness to me until he explained that through failure we learn quickly what doesn’t work allowing us to adjust and move forward at an accelerated pace until we eventually end up with the desired result.

Basically, in many cases this can get you to where you want to be faster then if you spent all your time trying to avoid failing and took less action, less risks or didn’t pushyourself.

Not to mention that failure in some way shape or form is a common happening among the most successful individuals throughout time. And not just small failures but years of significant failures or set backs.

But what allowed them to move forward and eventually achieve their dreams was their mindset and the ability to fail forward.

So yes, this was another ah hah moment for me.

In the moments when you are experiencing a disappointment or set back it’s so easy to internalize it as a failure and a direct reflection of you as a whole.

There may be qualities about you that influenced your circumstances or increased your chances of failing, but even in those cases failure can expose those weaknesses and give you the insight to change them, and in turn increase your speed towards success (assuming you are open to seeing short comings and addressing them).

This was another concept John mentioned that I won’t go into much. The main idea that he mentioned was that you should ask those around you to inform you about what they see as your weaknesses, as many times we are in denial about them. As well as being open with others about what you yourself perceive to be your weaknesses.

This not only brings awareness to you but it also lets those around you know that you are aware of what they may already see.

Then of course the idea is that you will be willing to work on improving those weaknesses.

Soooooo yeah this was just a little snip bit of the amazing presentation I was fortunate enough to attend and what spoke to me.

I hope some of this isn’t new to you, but if it is that it can inspire you to look at failure in a different light and change your mentality to be one that doesn’t run from failure but steps right over it and onto the next chapter, while putting your trust in God.

In fact, I suggest that you exclude the word failure from your vocabulary all together as I plan to do. And instead replace it with words such as challenge, test, obstacle, opportunity to…, window for growth or anything else that opens your mind to view it in a way that encourages you to persevere.

You are writing your story and you are the only one who has control over yourself, so don’t let fear or failure hold you back from growing and achieving what it is that you set out to do.

You are here to share your gifts with the world with love, gratefulness and sincerity. So let’s not allow our failures to hinder us from doing so or prevent us from stepping out into unfamiliar territory out of fear.

Someone out there needs you.



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