Fail First, Fail Fast, Fail Forward

2 Jul

FI was  just reading through my last blog post (yes…that may be a little vain…) and I came across two concepts failing fast and failing first.  It’s the fear of failure that keeps ordinary people like you and me from moving forward.  We’ve been taught in school that failing is bad.  No one wanted an F on their report card and as grown-ups, no one wants to fail.  But I’m learning that failure is the ONLY way to move forward.  It just depends on three things:

  • When you fail
  • How quick you embrace failure
  • If you fail in the right direction

If you’ve ever tried anything out of the ordinary, you probably failed first and failed fast.

I’ve failed at more things than I’ve succeeded at.  In fact, I’ve had more businesses to fail than most people dare to start. So I’m not scared to make mistakes.  It doesn’t feel good (…who actually likes to fail?) but I’m not afraid of it.  So when it comes to failing and making mistakes, here’s how it works: 

  1. Mistakes are how you learn.
    As a perfectionist, the agony of knowing I did not get something right the first time prompts me to correct that mistake.  If I had know this starting out, I would have learned alot faster.  
  2. Learn quickly.
    The speed at which you learn is directly proportional to the speed at which you admit your mistake.  And it has alot to do with your emotions.  You cannot learn while blaming someone else.  But if you admit that you messed up, you can learn quicker than ever.  It’s an ongoing but not a losing battle. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to try…
    Take a risk.  Go against the norm.  Swim up stream.  The point is to do something different…or do the same thing differently. Once you try, the fear will subside.
  4. …And try again.
    Now take a calculated risk.  Think about it.  Using a calculator is darn near impossible until you know which numbers to input.  The same applies to trying new things.  Before you take that risk, you are missing the figures.  Without those figures – or numbers, you future will always be filled with unknown unknows or “should’a, could’a, would’as.” 
  5. Expect to make mistakes.
    The worst thing you could ever do is dread making mistakes.  Because then you avoid them.  And you’ll probably end up making a lot of them.
  6. Expect to fail, prepare for success.
    On the movie Last Holiday, Queen Latifah finds out that she’s dying and finally starts to live her life.  She was expecting to die and ended up living life to the fullest.  Expecting to fail gets you emotionally prepared for failure.  Preparing for failure positions you for success.
  7. Fail forward.
    Think about it…it you fail at the same old thing, you’ve taken a step backwards.  But if you dare and prepare to fail at something new, when you actually fail, you will have taken several steps forward.  And if you learn from the failure, you’ll never miss a beat.

When it comes to failure just remember three words – first, fast and forward.



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