Why Failing is Essential to Success

Fail Forward and What It Means

I heard this phrase the other day, and it really made me stop and think.  Fail forward.  These two words convey an idea that has been swirling around in my mind for quite some time now. So, what does it even mean to fail forward?

fail forward printable

Perfection Gets In The Way of Progress 

Growing up I was often a perfectionist. I wanted to do things right the very first time. Like in the story I shared about learning piano, If I struggled with something, I sometimes just gave up or didn't try. I felt like it wasn't something I could do. I missed out on some opportunities for growth, because I didn't understand what it means to "Fail Forward"

Fast forward to now and I am finally embracing the idea that in order to grow, I am going to fail. Most people don't try something and get it all right the first time. Often, their ability develops in immeasurable ways as they hone a skill over time, little by little.

I now understand that failing at something means that I am trying something new. I may not understand or do it right on my first, third, or even fiftieth try. I WILL get better each time I try.

Change Often Happens Imperceptibly 

I have seen this happen time and time again with my kids. My oldest was a bit clumsy and uncoordinated when it came to riding a bike. She really fought the idea of riding without training wheels. My husband and I spent so many hours trying to help her learn to balance and to let go of her fear of falling. One day she decided it was enough. She didn't want to try any more.

So, we put her bike in storage (eventually giving it away) and didn't talk about riding a bike any more. 

About three years later she inherited a bicycle from one of her cousins. She hadn't been on a bike in all that time, but she was very enthusiastic about the idea of getting a bike. With some trepidation I decided to let her have the bike and I would see what happened.

Well, let me just say, she blew my mind! She hopped on that bike and started pedaling away as if she had been riding it continually over the last three years. She didn't wobble or crash and she even knew how to stop without falling.

Somehow during that three year span she had gained the spatial awareness, reflexes, and muscle coordination that allowed her to ride a bike with complete ease.

So many times in life, that happens to all of us.

Fail Forward Day by Day

It's in the daily struggles of trying to figure things out, that we open ourselves up to the possibility of success.

Sometimes we are learning by figuring out what we shouldn't do, and sometimes we figure out what we should do and just have to practice the technique until it becomes second nature.

We need to get our own inhibitions about failing out of the way and then the possibilities are really endless. 

I loved the phrase "Fail Forward" so much that I decided to make a printable that you can put up on your mirror, by your bed, or any place that you like to remind yourself that it is OK to fail, that means you are beginning the journey for success, one drop at a time.

Click here to print a copy of this saying. The words are simple but the message, if taken to heart, is life changing. Happy failing to us all!



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