Wednesday, March 4, 2009

learning from failure

Philippians 3:13-14 (nlt) --- No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
We are off on our trip to bring Bob and Cathy Ford back to Martinsville, but before I leave the house I wanted to pass on an article that got me to thinking.  It is my leadership guru John Maxwell, and click here to read the entire article.
What does failure do to us?  Does it bump us forward?  Does it make us never go that direction again?  Failure ought to launch us into even further risk to be successful at what we try to do.  In my case and I hope in your case is the success of advancing the cause of Christ and seeing God's kindgom grow as lives are changed.
In the article Maxwell gives several items that ought to help up move forward:

Seven Principles for Failing Forward

Reject Rejection --- Achievers who persevere do not base their self-worth on their performance. On the contrary, they have a healthy self-image that's not dictated by external events. When they fall short, rather than labeling themselves a failure, they learn from mistakes in their judgment or behavior.

Don't Point Fingers --- When people fail, they're often tempted to blame others for their lack of success. By pointing fingers, they sink into a victim mentality and cede their fate to outsiders. When playing the blame game, people rob themselves of learning from their failures and alienate others by refusing to take responsibility for mistakes.

See Failure as Temporary --- People who personalize failure see a problem as a hole they're permanently stuck in, whereas achievers see any predicament as temporary. One mindset wallows in failure, the other looks forward to success. By putting mistakes into perspective, achievers are able to see failure as a momentary event, not a symptom of a lifelong epidemic.

Set Realistic Expectations --- Unrealistic goals doom people to failure. For instance, if a person hasn't exercised for five years, then making it to a gym twice a week may be a better goal than running in next month's marathon. Also, some people insensibly expect to be perfect. Everyone fails, so expect setbacks and emotionally prepare to deal with them.

Focus on Strengths --- Don't invest time shoring up non-character flaws at the exclusion of investing in your strengths. People operating from a position of strength enjoy a far lower rate of failure than those laboring in areas of weakness. You're built to give your talents to the world; be diligent about finding expressions for them in your career.

Vary Approaches to Achievement --- In the Psychology of Achievement, Brian Tracy writes about four millionaires who made their fortunes by age 35. On average, these achievers were involved in 17 businesses before they finding the one that took them to the top. They kept trying and changing until they found something that worked.

Bounce Back --- Rehashing missteps and blunders for too long sabotages concentration and eats away at self-confidence. When dealing with failure, achievers have short memories. They quickly forget the negative emotions of setbacks and press forward resiliently. While taking pause to learn from failures, achievers realize that the past cannot be altered.

I pray that we will allow God to use our weakness and our failure to teach us about Him and about ourselves as well as to help us be more successful for Him than ever before! 

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

Great post! Love learning from my online community.

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