Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping stones for Success by John Maxwell will help you stop making excuses, start embracing failure as a natural, necessary part of the process and let you find the confidence to proceed in business and in life.
Failing Forward handles the psychology of success and failure, presenting case studies mostly of people and businesses that managed to come back from major setbacks or failures to succeed. Written in the typical John Maxwell style, it has anecdotes, stories and quotes relevant and leading towards the lessons to be learned from the book.
“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.” John Maxwell
This is the attitude that Maxwell wants to teach us with this book. Failing Forward is about losing some of the conditioning that we have all come out of school learning – the paralyzing fear of failure. Maxwell wants us to see failure at the horizon and move ahead with confidence.
Here are 3 lessons to help you change your perspective:
#1: You might not be responsible for your failures, but you can sure take responsibility for your success. It’s not always your fault when things go wrong, but, when you give up and feel sorry for yourself, that is. When successful people fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic. It’s not personal. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, don’t let any single incidence color your view of yourself or your business. Do you know what all successful entrepreneurs have in common? The ability to bounce back after an error, mistake or failure. Figure out what you didn’t do right, so you don’t do it again. That’s the key to bouncing back and failing forward.
“Every successful person is someone who failed, yet never regarded himself as a failure.” John Maxwell
#2: Turn failure into knowledge and knowledge into success.
Failing is not losing unless you do not learn from what went wrong. As an entrepreneur, making multiple attempts to launch your business can take the pressure off every single one. We must come to the realization that entrepreneurs will go through multiple stages of failure, which will allow us to learn from each one and improve their next product or service we offer. This is how failure leads to success. When we put too much pressure on ourselves, we often don’t have the stomach to revisit our failure. But, how else should we find out what we did wrong? Make more. Quantity over quality. Be determined to understand your failures and then improve each time.
“Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business.” John Maxwell
#3: Three things help you make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
When your perspective shifts and failure slowly begins to transform into the stepping stone it actually is, you’ll be much more willing to take each and every single opportunity that comes your way. Try to make the most of each shot you get. Maxwell suggests working on three things to ensure you do: set clear goals; work on your social skills; and, keep a positive mindset. I know optimism doesn’t come natural to everyone, but I truly believe it’s what most of us confuse with happiness.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” John Maxwell
These are just starting points. But not only will they help you make the most of failing more, they’re even great skills to practice failing forward in. The point is to not let setbacks set you back for too long. I hope this book will help you do just that. I highly recommend this book to anyone striving to succeed despite all odds, it can also be applied to your entire life and not just to business.