How to Fail Upward

How to Fail Upward

Now that we’ve talked about the #1 mistake service professionals make, let’s talk about “mistakes” in general. 

There is a Failure Loop that is easy to get stuck in. It goes something like this: 

You take an action in order to get a certain result 

You don’t get the result you wanted… 

You have feelings and thoughts about not getting the results you wanted… 

Those feelings and thoughts are often negative 

You begin to analyze what happened from that negative perspective: who is to blame, what the “failure” means, how the “bad” results reflect on you, your company, your life…  

And before you know it… you’re stuck. 

If you really want to get different results, the thing to do is to stop focusing on “what was” and instead focus on what it was that created or contributed to those results without blame or judgment. 

In this way, you can remove the emotional “charge” around the event and see things more clearly and rationally. This will allow you a lot more freedom to take new actions, which will absolutely change the results you get.  

Most of what we characterize as “failure” is really just new information. The valuable take away is, “that didn’t produce the result I wanted, so it’s time to try something else.” 

As marketing and business guru Frank Kern once said: 

Plan for the year: 

  1. Do more of what works. 
  1. Do less of what doesn’t work. 

That may sound like a “DUH!” – but most of the time, it’s no more complicated than that.  

So I challenge you to remove the negative thinking around your “missteps” and welcome failure as a wise teacher with rich lessons to teach you.  

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