Failing Forward

There's a big difference between failure and success: positive thinking!

Posted in , Mar 28, 2011

Failure inspires positive thinking

Like most people I have failed more times than I care to remember.

I’ve struck out playing baseball, I’ve failed to win the client, I’ve lost the big opportunity at work, I’ve had to close two of my restaurants, I lost my race for city council of Atlanta when I was 26, I was fired once, I was once a month away from bankruptcy, I was initially rejected by over 100 publishers, I’ve made mistakes as a parent and boss and the list goes on and on and on.

Yet, when I look back I realize that every failure has moved me forward. Every failure taught me a lesson and made me stronger, wiser and better. I failed many times but I failed forward (I first heard this term from John Maxwell).

Failing to win a client taught me what not to do so I could start winning more business. Shutting-down restaurants taught me to be smarter about picking the right locations. Losing the race for city council led to me leaving Atlanta, moving to the beach in Florida and doing the work I do now.

I’ve realized that sometimes we have to lose a goal to find our destiny. Sometimes we have to fail to move forward.

I know some of you might be saying, “Well that’s you Jon. You’re just lucky. It doesn’t work that way in my life. You have no idea what failure has done to me.” I hear these comments often and I always respectively disagree.

I believe there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who fail and those who fail forward. We all fail but what we do with our failures is our choice. At any moment we can stop being someone who fails and become someone who fails forward.

Through each challenge and failure we must stay hopeful and know that failure always leads to a better future if we have an attitude of faith, are open to the possibilities and trust that new and exciting opportunities are coming our way. We have to look at failure not as a dead end but rather as a detour to a better outcome than we could have ever imagined.

If you are experiencing a failure right now at work or home please know you are not alone. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived. It’s time to ask what you can learn from your failure. What is it teaching you about yourself and your team?

Don't be afraid to fail, just make the choice to fail forward. Use it to learn, grow and become the you who you were meant to be.

Download your FREE ebook, Rediscover the Power of Positive Thinking, with Norman Vincent Peale

Jon Gordon is a speaker, consultant and author of several books including the recently released The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work and the international best seller The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy which has captured the hearts of readers world-wide. Read more at

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