Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. –John Maxwell

If you’ve led for any length of time, you’ve experienced failure.

The only way not to fail is to do nothing. 

I believe that fear of failure is the number one saboteur of the vision and dreams of what could be. Leaders see what could be – they inspire others to imagine what it would be like to get there, to see that, to experience it, to achieve it. But the number one enemy of achieving any goal is being afraid of it. 

A friend of mine texted me something he heard a few weeks ago: “Many people reduce their life to accommodate their fears.” 

And so it happens.

Fear begins to drive the decision making process, and the fear of failure causes us to hedge, to lower our sights, to dream smaller, more “realistically.” 

Failure happens. To everyone. 

But what if, as Maxwell says, we saw failure as our teacher, not as our undertaker? 

Thomas Edison, when asked about the thousands of failed attempts as he tried to figure out how to make a light bulb, famously said, ““I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

That’s seeing “failure” as a teacher, not as an undertaker.

Leaders, you are GOING to experience failure. Maybe this week, or this month, or this quarter. It’s normal. 

But it doesn’t have to defeat you or define you.

Let it be your teacher. Change your perspective and learn from it. But keep going. 

The goal is worth it.


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